Ford CEO Jim Hackett doesn't seem worried about competition from Tesla. In fact, he thinks Ford will lead as a disruptor, much like it has continued to do since the days of the original and "ultimate disruptor," Henry Ford.
Hackett is on board with electrification. Clearly, he's aware of its role in the future of the automotive sector. Ford recently made waves showing this off to the public by publishing a video on an Ford F-150 Electric Pickup Truck Tows 1 Million Pounds: Video.
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While Hackett isn't worried about Tesla, he does admit that he's competing with Tesla and he respects CEO Elon Musk due to his smarts. Hackett shared in a recent interview with CNN Business reporter Poppy Harlow (via Teslarati):
“There’s a disruptor coming. I happen to compete with a rocket scientist who’s really smart, and I respect that about him. And yet, he’s competing with the ultimate disruptor in Henry Ford. When you go seven miles from here and you see the Rouge Complex, Henry bet the company, he goes bankrupt because there’s no industrial model in the world that has a hundred thousand people working in it. That one did, and [it] took 12 hours to build a vehicle before [Henry Ford] built it. It went down to 52 minutes. Today, we build an F-150 every 53 seconds."
Tesla is currently the only American automaker aside from Ford that hasn't ever declared bankruptcy. However, the Silicon Valley automaker has only been around for 16 years, whereas Ford has a lengthy and storied history. Hackett continued:
“So let’s go back to the challenges of the disruptor. How well does their production system work? How fast were they building cars? Which is saying that fitness, as we were saying, is a compendium of things that you have to get right. It’s not just the technology in this case. You have to have an industrial model. Ford’s really good at this."
Hackett's analysis is hard to argue with. Ford — and several other legacy automakers — have the tools necessary to lead the charge. However, we're still waiting for action.
Below is a related excerpt from the recent CNN Business interview with Ford CEO Jim Hackett: