Ford Motor Co. (NYSE: F) was upset about a comment Elon Musk made about the number two car manufacturer. Its communications director fired back in a tweet, which is one of Musk’s favorite forms of communication.
Ford public relations chief Mark Truby tweeted:
Musk, the chief of Tesla Inc. (NASDAQ: TSLA) said Ford was “like a morgue” in an interview with The Wall Street Journal. Musk’s comment was ironic. Tesla has had trouble building its Model 3 and needs to reach production of 5,000 a week to fulfill a promise to customers and investors. Ford’s F-150 is the best-selling vehicle in America and represents about 35% of Ford’s total U.S. sales.
But, is Musk right about the future of Ford, even if his company fails to meet all its major milestones and he loses most of his credibility? Truby must be aware of deep skepticism of Ford’s ability to turn around its U.S. operations. In April, Ford said it would eliminate most of the sedans it sells in America. Its sales in China, the world’s largest car market, are falling. Investors worry whether CEO James Hackett is on the right path to restructure Ford and make it a leader in autonomous vehicle and electric cars.
Musk has been a loudmouth in much of his career in the public eye. Tesla may be crippled financially. That does not mean his comments about Ford don’t have a kernel of truth.