Just yesterday, TIME magazine announced its 2021 Person of the Year award, and to the surprise of many, the recipient was Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk. A few hours earlier, on December 13, 2021, MotorTrend named the Rivian R1T the winner of its 2022 Truck of the Year Award. Later, the publication published its own Person of the Year awards, choosing Ford CEO Jim Farley as top dog.
What a day of announcements. It seems with the end of the year creeping closer, it's high time for publications to give credit where credit is due. While the Elon Musk announcement is surprising to some, it won't likely have any major impact on the EV segment as a whole. Musk is in the news all the time, and not necessarily in a positive light. In fact, if you paid any attention to the response to TIME magazine over its choice of Musk, you may have noticed that many people were up in arms.
Moving on to the MotorTrend Truck of the Year announcement. It's really a much bigger deal than many people are making of it. The fact that an electric pickup truck from a startup automaker is the winner of such a notable award is proof that the automotive industry is changing in a big way, and for the better.
That said, of the three major announcements, MotorTrend's Person of the Year award offers an even clearer picture of where cars are headed. It's important to note that while MotorTrend picked Ford CEO Jim Farley as the overall winner, it also published its 2022 MotorTrend power list, which we'll shed some light on later.
While Ford isn't yet a leader in the EV space, it's doing everything it can to move to the top, and it's already proving that it's not going to simply announce future plans, but actually follow through with them. Farley seems to have a clear idea of where the future of cars is headed, and he's praised Musk on multiple occasions for leading the way. MotorTrend writes:
"When Farley took over, Ford was perceived as having lost its way and fallen behind the competition, with weak leadership, a frustrating lack of transparency, and scant details behind vague promises that it had a plan and the right vehicles to remain competitive."
"Now, Ford's product pipeline has never looked better; it includes a lot of game-changers. People cringed at the notion of an electric SUV badged "Mustang," but Farley's subbrand strategy is working, and the Mustang Mach-E is already outselling the conventional muscle car."
MotorTrend goes on to talk about the upcoming Ford F-150 Lightning, the Blue Oval's commercial electric vehicles, and Ford's aggressive electrification plans as a whole. Based on everything MotorTrend shares, its decision to choose Farley makes perfect sense. However, in its power list, the publication also gave credit to several other folks in the automotive industry, many of which are also supporting the transition to EVs.
The publication highlighted 50 of the most influential people in the industry today, including the likes of GM CEO Mary Barra at No. 20, Elon Musk at 14, VW Group CEO Herbert Diess at 11, Stellantis CEO Carlos Tavares at 4, Lucid CEO Peter Rawlinson at 3, and Rivian CEO RJ Scaringe as the runner-up to Farley.
Not long ago, the above supporters of electric cars may have been seen as mere outcasts in the industry, with crazy ideas that would eventually fail. Now, they grab top positions when it comes to their overall influence on the industry. MotorTrend's 2022 Person of the Year award, and moreover, its overall 2022 power list provide the best indication we've seen to date of the reality of the EV revolution.
Do you agree with MotorTrend? Does Jim Farley deserve the win? What about some of the other CEOs? Who would you choose and how would you arrange the order if you had to put together a 2022 automotive industry power list? Leave us your wisdom in the comment section below.