Ford says Tesla is ‘loving this strike’

Ford says Tesla is ‘loving this strike’

Ford Tesla TSLA

  • Toyota, Honda, Tesla, and others are loving this strike,” Bill Ford said Monday.
  • Ford is now the hardest hit by the strike after Kentucky Truck work stoppage.
  • Analysts have already said Tesla is winning the UAW strike.

Ford would like the United Auto Workers union to direct its attention to Tesla.

Bill Ford, the automaker’s executive chair and great-grandson of founder , took the podium Monday morning at the company’s F-150 factory in suburban Detroit to deliver a short message directed at his unionized employee base. In a set of prepared remarks, Ford pleaded for an end to the month-long strike and asked that the company and its employees come together against competitors like Tesla.

“This should not be Ford versus the UAW,” he said. “Toyota, Honda, Tesla, and others are loving this strike because they know the longer it goes on, the better it is for them. They will win and all of us will lose.”

A month ago, the UAW initiated a historic strike at all three Detroit car companies after union leaders said Ford, GM, and Stellantis failed to meet their demands for a new four-year contract. The union is calling on the companies to reverse concessions made on wages and benefits during the Great Recession after years of hefty profits.

Until last week, it looked like GM was the hardest hit by the strike, with the most work stoppages and the least amount of inventory on the ground. But Ford took the biggest blow of the strike so far Wednesday night when the UAW unexpectedly called a strike at the company’s highly profitable heavy-duty pickup truck factory in Kentucky.

The company said it has countered the UAW’s demand for 40% wage increases with 23% increases, higher than the wage offers at GM and Stellantis). Ford has told the union it is open to moving money around in the contract but not adding to the overall cost of the offer.

Kentucky Truck changed the strike for Ford

Prior to the surprise work stoppage in Kentucky, the strike was costing GM $21 million per day, compared to an $18 million per day at Ford, JPMorgan estimated. But a fresh analysis released by the bank’s analysts Monday found that, with Kentucky Truck down, the UAW strike has now cost Ford an estimated $517 million to GM’s estimated $507 million.

“The UAW expanded the strike at Ford to its most profitable facility (the Kentucky Truck Plant producing full-size pickup trucks and SUVs), causing us to assess that the daily run-rate cost of the strike at Ford has now risen to $44 million, or more than twice the cost at General Motors,” JPMorgan analyst Ryan Brinkman wrote in a Monday note to clients.

While Ford is most impacted right now, the tables can turn quickly. UAW President Shawn Fain told members Friday that negotiations are entering a new phase, in which the union will no longer wait until the end of the week to expand the strike.

“We will be calling out plants when we need to, where we need to, with little notice,” Fain told members. “Stay ready.”

Tesla is still winning

Ford’s warning that Tesla and other competitors are enjoying the strike echoes what experts and Wall Street analysts have been saying since the strike began on Sept. 15.

Analysts have estimated that the UAW’s demands would double the labor cost gap between the Detroit Three and Tesla, a metric closely watched by executives when negotiating a new labor deal.

One analyst called the UAW’s strike a “nightmare scenario” for the Detroit Three, whose electric vehicle business models would be “torpedoed” by the UAW’s demands.

“The clear winner in this heavyweight boxing match between the UAW vs. GM/Ford is Musk and Tesla,” Wedbush analyst Dan Ives wrote in a note in September. “This is a growing nightmare situation for GM and Ford as both 313 stalwarts are in the early stages of a massive EV transformation path for the next decade that will define future success.”

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