Elon Musk is fast learning that conventional companies are not only getting on the electric bandwagon and working on self-driving technologies — they’re also upping their Twitter game.
Yesterday, Elon Musk had shared on Twitter what had seemed like a milestone for Tesla. “7000 cars, 7 days,” Musk had bragged, while adding the heart emojis around Tesla team. Tesla’s Model 3 has been delayed for years, and Musk had been celebrating Tesla finally reaching its production target. Musk’s tweet managed to get over 13,000 retweets, with many Tesla fans lauding the achievement.
7000 cars, 7 days
♥️ Tesla Team ♥️
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) July 1, 2018
But while producing 7,000 cars in a week is a milestone for Tesla — last quarter, it had produced only 35,000 cars in all — Musk’s claims were quickly put in perspective by Steven Armstrong, Ford’s CEO for Europe and MEA. Instead of berating Musk’s achievement, Armstrong simply chose to quote Musk’s tweet, while adding his own production numbers. “7000 cars, circa 4 hours,” tweeted Armstrong, while adding the same heart emojis around the phrase “Ford team”.
7000 cars, circa 4 hours. ❤️Ford Team❤️ https://t.co/FZSclsFoS0
— Steven Armstrong (@StevenArmstrong) July 1, 2018
The difference is stark — while Tesla might have finally hit its production targets, Ford continues to produces 42 times as many cars without any fanfare. And the lack of fanfare around traditional car companies — and the corresponding hype around Tesla — has produced some interesting real world consequences. Even as Ford churns out 42 times as many cars as Tesla, it’s only valued at $43 billion; Tesla, with all its production woes, is valued at an astonishing $54 billion.
Still, Tesla and Ford might not be directly comparable. Ford started off producing cars exactly a century before Tesla — it was founded in 1903, while Tesla began operations in 2003. A 100-year head start in an industry that’s as complex as automobile manufacturing has to count for something, and Tesla will hope that it’ll eventually be able to iron out its production woes and begin churning out its cars at the rates that it promised it would. Tesla also has a head start in areas that are thought to be the future of how automobiles will shape up — electric vehicles and self-driving technology.
But conventional car companies are catching up with Tesla as well. When Tesla had begun producing electric cars, no major car company took it seriously. Now they’re right in the game — Ford, for instance, already has two electric cars on the road and will have 7 more by 2022, and is even testing out its self-driving cars in Miami. And as Steven Armstrong’s tweet shows, conventional car companies have had enough of Tesla hogging all the limelight, and seem to be getting their act together on social media too. All this sets up as a delicious rivalry for customers to watch — not only will sparks fly online, but better cars will end up hitting the roads as a result. And that’s a cause that will be cheered on by fans on either side of the Tesla-conventional company divide.