An official Ford spokesperson called Tesla’s ‘Full Self-Driving’ package ‘vaporware’ in a spat with a Tesla investor over the Mustang Mach-E.
Press relations and communication people at legacy automakers are generally pretty careful about what they say, especially when it is about the competition, because they are official representatives of the company.
That’s why we were surprised to see this interaction between Mike Levine, North American communication manager at Ford, and Ross Gerber, an investor who is long Tesla.
Levine leads communications at Ford for cars, trucks, SUVs and electrified vehicles in North America, according to his own LinkedIn profile.
Gerber tagged him on a comment on Twitter about Ford comparing the Mustang Mach-E to the Tesla Model Y and Ford dealerships charging extra fees for their new electric SUV.
Levine responded by saying that the media itself is comparing Tesla vehicles to the Mach-E and that Tesla is “ripping off” customers with its Full Self-Driving “vaporware”:
In subsequent tweets, Levine has offered to help anyone who is interested in the Mustang Mach-E find another dealership if they are being charged extra fees.
During the launch of the Mach-E last year, some Ford dealers were marking up the electric SUV by as much as $15,000.
Ford has been looking into the problem and reservations holders have compiled a list of dealerships who have accepted not to mark up the Mustang Mach-E.
I’m surprised that a Ford representative would say something like that in a public setting on a verified account.
While “vaporware” is a more vague term that some would certainly argue applies to Tesla’s FSD package, saying that Tesla rips off people is more serious.
If you want my 2 cents, I think both are in the wrong here.
I think it’s perfectly fine for Ford or anyone to compare the Mustang Mach-E to the Tesla Model Y.
“It serves no value to try to compare the Mach e to a tesla. It is not and it’s not close”
I don’t think that’s exactly fair. While Tesla does appear to have strong advantages on paper, especially on range and efficiency, we found in our road test that Ford appears to be way more conservative with its estimates than Tesla.
The vehicles compete in the same segment and it’s perfectly fine to compare tham.
Some Tesla fans, especially Tesla investors, have a bad tendency to dismiss new electric vehicles, especially when people try to favourably compare them to Tesla’s.
As for Levine, I certainly wouldn’t call Tesla’s FSD package “vaporware”. It is true that it doesn’t live up to its name yet, but people do get a bunch of features for it right now that add value.
Some healthy competition is good, but maybe everyone should relax a bit in this case.