Ford CEO admires two electric vehicle makers

Ask Ford CEO and resident car super fan Jim Farley who he sees as his biggest competitors in the electric vehicle race, the answer isn’t fierce hometown rival General Motors. 

In fact, Farley won’t say specifically the Model T creator has worthy competitors in EVs. Rather, Farley acknowledges “admiring” two EV players in particular. 

“Well, the companies that I think about that I admire because of their commitment — and frankly, the hard work they did to earn their reputation — are companies like Nio and Tesla,” Farley said on Yahoo Finance Live. “They’ve been at this a long time. They engineer their vehicles differently. I’m most respectful of Tesla’s profitability. They’re now making more than $10,000 a vehicle in their second quarter earnings.”

To be sure, Ford has amassed quite a few admirers of its own in the stock market because of the carmaker’s swift pivot to electric vehicle production under Farley. Shares are up 80% this past year, compared to a 3% drop for GM. 

The Detroit-based auto giant said in September 2021 it will partner with SK Innovation to invest $11.4 billion to construct two “mega-sites” — one in Tennessee and the other in Kentucky — that will build electric trucks and batteries.

Ford’s portion of the investment — $7 billion — is the largest manufacturing investment in the company’s 118-year-old history.

Farley told Yahoo Finance Live he would like to reach electric vehicle capacity of 600,000 units over the next 22 months.

The increased capacity will help Ford satisfy what looks to be very strong demand for new electric E-Transit vans and the F-150 Lightning. 

“We have over 10,000 orders already from a lot of different customers [for the E-Transit]. I think we just got over 1,000 orders from Walmart. So, the demand is very high,” Farley told Yahoo Finance Live. “We have about 200,000 reservations [for the Lightning]. Now we’re converting those into orders where people have to physically order the vehicle, almost very few of them are falling out.”

Ford stopped taking reservations for the F-150 Lightning in December for the current model year as it works to increase manufacturing capacity.

Added Farley, “I think Ford has a real chance here [with EVs]. We’re not going to be in the same segments as them [Tesla, Nio]. We’re really doubling down on the customers and the segments we know really well. F-150 has been the best-selling vehicle in America for 40 years. And now we’re electrifying it. We’re just getting started. So I love those companies [Tesla, Nio]. But I think we have a wonderful opportunity at Ford, maybe one we haven’t had since the Model T.”

Brian Sozzi is an editor-at-large and anchor at Yahoo Finance. Follow Sozzi on Twitter @BrianSozzi and on LinkedIn.

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