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Former Ford CEO Mark Fields Is Bearish On Tesla’s Future

Over the last several months, Tesla has seen a surge in sales while many other automakers falter, even as new electric vehicles like the Ford Mustang Mach-E continue to steal market share from the EV maker. The biggest question on everyone’s mind, however, is what does Tesla’s future look like? Can it continue to thrive as more established automakers launch more and more new electric vehicles? At least one person – former Ford CEO Mark Fields – doesn’t think so.

“The bottom line it’s the first time Tesla has had real competition,” Fields told CNBC. “You have Volkswagen, who is now the leader in selling electric vehicles in Europe. Here in the U.S., Ford with its Mach-E, which is a terrific car, is taking share away from the Model Y and their other models. So he [Tesla CEO Elon Musk] has some real competition now, and that’s going to put a lot of pressure on their business.”

“One of the many things he [Musk] did is he pushed the industry toward taking EVs seriously,” Fields added. “He has real competition now, and that’s why you’re seeing some of their share in some of the major markets under a lot of pressure.”

Fields goes on to point out that Tesla is able to turn a profit by selling CO2 credits to other automakers, rather than solely through building and selling cars. He notes that Tesla made more money last year selling those credits than vehicles, and points out that as those credits dry up, “there’s going to be a lot of pressure to make money and make better margins on their vehicles.”

Tesla stock is down 14 percent on the year, a stark contrast to its performance in 2020. Much of that performance can be pinned on the automaker’s global market share, which plunged from 29 percent in March to 11 percent in April.

Meanwhile, traditional automakers like Ford continue to gain on Tesla, which quite literally brought electric vehicles into the mainstream. And future models like the recently-revealed Ford F-150 Lightning and Ford E-Transit figure to cast even more of a dark cloud over Tesla’s future.

We’ll have more automotive insights like this to share soon, so be sure and subscribe to Ford Authority for continuous Ford news coverage.

Brett's lost track of all the Fords he's owned over the years and how much he's spent modifying them, but his current money pits include an S550 Mustang and 13th gen F-150.

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Comments

  1. Stephen Ketterer

    Unfortunately for EVs, there aren’t enough resources available to produce a meaningful number of drivetrains to occupy a significant market share. Then there’s the infrastructure problem.

    Reply
  2. Hendrik Joseph Haan

    Is Fields trying to justify his reticence to invest in EVs? Or is it better to lead from behind, as the Detroit Lions haven’t won in the post season since 1957? Same people making decisions!

    Reply
    1. Bruce Holberg

      Not the same people at all. The Lions stink all on their own.

      Reply
  3. Mark L Bedel

    More and more manufacturers will continue to jump into the EV market as time moves forward. As mentioned in a prior story, the EV experience will be the next battle ground. The Tesla recharging stations with food and entertainment and other amenities attached will be the next big thing. Other than reliability and durability, there doesn’t seem to be many vehicular areas for huge improvements.

    Reply
    1. Mike says..

      To your point about more manufacturers…. should make it more cost effective for consumers however, these products are luxury priced. Also, an industry wide move to monetize anything/everything (restaurants, data services etc) is becoming less and less about basic transportation (needs).

      Reply
  4. GeorgeS

    Once you create a market, it’s awfully difficult to maintain the majority of the market share once others join in. There are many reasons why Tesla is slipping and just look at the competition. There is market loyalty, people by Fords, GM, Toyota, Honda’s for life. I myself would be difficult to switch brands but with a Tesla vehicle problem, where do you go? Buying a vehicle in a shopping mall store doesn’t give me much confidence with the brand. Tesla has tried and maybe had done well with its on line support, but anything mechanical will wear out and need service though EV’s have little or no maintenance.

    Secondly, Tesla needs a change. A redesign is well warranted as they are looking dated. They need to release each year product improvements of the previous years model, if not why bother, we all like something new.

    Reply
  5. Martin Scott

    Well said. It should be a GIVEN that Tesla wouldn’t be able to maintain it’s market share in a market with over 40 ICE brands ready and able to go electric. The OEM’s like Magna, Borg Warner, and Siemens are heavily invested in EV development and components.
    Also and more importantly, the ICE manufacturers will turn profits on each EV they make where as Tesla will be forever paying off factory cost. I love Tesla cars but when it’s 5000 Tesla engineers vs 1 million everyone else, then everyone else wins hands down. Tesla only (and most logical) course of action is selling power trains “Tesla inside”.

    Reply

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