Ford might have been a little late to the electric party, but that isn’t stopping them from taking shots at the competition. The automaker from Michigan is bringing their first production electric vehicle to the market next year. Branded on the name of the Mustang, the Mach-E is an electric crossover SUV. And once it hits the market next summer (most probably), it will be facing stiff competition from Tesla. And so, Ford’s Global Product Development Director for BEVs, Darren Palmer decided to take some shots which point towards some of Tesla’s issues.
“Ford Mustang Mach-E Won’t Have Bumpers Falling Off” – Ford EV Director
In an interview with Autoblog, Palmer mentioned that Ford’s latest vehicle won’t face quality control issues, and there won’t be “any bumpers falling off”.
“The doors fit properly, the plastics and other materials colour-match, the bumpers don’t fall off, the roof doesn’t come off when you wash it, the door handles don’t get stuck in cold weather. …”
While Palmer did not mention the name of any company, it is clear who he was talking about. Tesla has been facing quality issues right through their journey, and there have been some alarming issues this year, especially with Model Y. All the issues that he mentioned have been experienced by Tesla owners. He went on to add that customers won’t have to “make such compromises” while buying a Ford.
Tesla and Ford: Two Very Different Companies
Tesla and Ford may both be American companies, but Ford is from Michigan, while Tesla is Californian. This is sufficient to understand the major difference between their ideologies. For those who did not understand it, it simply exemplifies the difference between automobile and tech companies. Michigan is the automobile hub, while California is a major technological center. And that is exactly the difference between Tesla and Ford.
Tesla – A Tech Company in the Automobile Industry
Tesla is basically a tech company which produces cars. It’s that simple. They literally roll out OTA (over-the-air) updates, something which was previously seen in smartphone apps. For them, the car is simply a technological product which should perform at the highest possible level. And they will keep improving their vehicles through software updates to reach that level and raise the bar even further. The pace of innovation and the resulting progress that Tesla has made has put them at the top of the EV market right now.
But every coin has two sides, and Tesla’s negative side is the quality of products. Yes, they are building cars that are fast and provide a great range, but the quality of car components has been an issue. They have had assembling issues, sealing issues, and overall quality control problems in almost all their cars. These setbacks are seen predominantly during the initial delivery phase of every new vehicle (like the Model Y in 2020). They also try to push as many cars as possible off the production line at the end of every quarter. This causes a lapse in quality, and the entire thing is smearing the brand. Yes, Tesla is a very strong technological contender in the world right now, but they need to pay attention to the basic need of any customer – a sturdy and safe car.
Ford – One of the Original ‘Big Three’ American Manufacturers
Ford, on the other hand, is a true-blood automobile company. Their ideology is nicknamed ‘Fordism’. It is ‘the basis of modern economic and social systems in industrialized, standardized mass production and mass consumption’. And with this ideology, there comes a certain standard that Ford puts on its cars. They care about quality just as much as performance. And that is important when you are catering to a huge customer base.
And if you talk about the Mach-E, Ford has put decent figures in their first-ever electric vehicle. They may not challenge Tesla yet, but they sure have a good base to build upon. And most importantly, Ford has tested the Mach-E for millions of miles. That’s what you do to try to ensure the production vehicles are robust enough for people not to be concerned about buying them. Of course, the actual quality will be understood only after deliveries begin, but this is quite assuring.
Innovation and Pace vs Quality and Legacy
What Tesla has done for the industry is beyond impressive. It takes a lot of effort to make the traditional CV manufacturers turn towards electrification. And this change has been solely on the basis of Tesla’s innovation and technological progress from a vehicular POV. Add to that, interesting tidbits of features, and impressive spec figures, and you realize what all Tesla actually offers.
But the fact that Darren Palmer did not mention the company name, and yet everyone instantly knew who he was talking about, is a serious concern. Tesla can’t be seen as a car with the blemish of poor quality. High sales numbers should not be a goal, but the consequence of products that deserves them.
Ford, on the other hand, should be preparing to improve the specs on their future products. It is clear that you cannot compete in the market with “outstanding product quality”, and have a range of around 100 miles (161 km) less than the rivals.
It will be interesting to see who takes the leaf out of the other’s book first.