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Opinion
Liam Denning

Ford Chases Tesla in a Built-to-Order F-150

As the automaker spends big to catch up on electrification, its ability to nail the seemingly routine stuff is critical to keeping investors on board.

Ford’s future is as dependent on managing its dealer lot and getting the nuts and bolts right as delivering on the promise of electrification.

Ford’s future is as dependent on managing its dealer lot and getting the nuts and bolts right as delivering on the promise of electrification.

Photographer: Daniel Acker/Bloomberg

Elon Musk likes to boast that Tesla Inc. is one of only two U.S. carmakers never to have gone bankrupt. The other one has been around for a bit longer.

Ford Motor Co. has certainly had its hairy moments, not least the 2008 financial crisis that upended General Motors Co. and Chrysler Corp. Back then, CEO Alan Mulally saved the company by mortgaging it down to the blue oval and streamlining it with gusto. Now the company must reinvent itself again, only this time because of Musk and his electrified, autonomy-aspiring bandwagon. It was a big deal in 2017 when its market cap was surpassed by Tesla’s. Now, with Tesla valued at almost a dozen Fords, the idea they were ever in the same ballpark seems quaint. Indeed, in finance terms, they occupy different universes.