The Ford Motor Company is heading full-speed into the self-driving car race despite the head start by tech companies, like Tesla and Google’s Waymo. But chairman Bill Ford has no reservations about taking on this challenge and even clapped back at the subtle digs Elon Musk has recently taken at the Detroit-based automobile company.
In an interview with CBS, Ford said that his company’s self-driving cars could be ready by 2021 while Musk claims that Tesla’s autonomous driving could be hitting the pavement in the next three to six months. Even though Ford Co. may seem to be lagging behind Tesla, its chairman called out Musk and said, “he is realizing that building a car company is more difficult than [Musk] first thought it might be.”
While the tension between these two car moguls is palpable, there also seems to be a bit of perhaps begrudging respect as well. In an email to Tesla staff Musk wrote, “Tesla and Ford remain the only American car companies who haven’t gone bankrupt.”
During his CBS interview, Ford responded to that statement by saying he was “impressed” by Tesla’s progress and that he saw many similarities between his company and Musk’s.
But regardless of the contention and shade, Ford said he is dead set on taking the business values his father established for the company and driving them into the future.
“My dad was great because he said to me you’re not going to be doing yourself or the company any favors if you’re heart’s not in it,” he said. “I love it.”
The race is on.