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Rivalry in Detroit still exists even as GM, Ford and Stellants face off against Tesla

Rivalry in Detroit still exists even as GM, Ford and Stellants face off against Tesla

Ford CEO Jim Farley speaks at the launch of the all-new Ford F-150 Lightning electric pickup truck at the Ford Rouge Electric Vehicle Center on April 26, 2022 in Dearborn, Michigan. The F-150 Lightning is positioned as the first full-size electric pickup truck to go on sale in the mainstream US market.

Bill Bogliano | Getty Images

DETROIT – Even as Detroit automakers change and adapt to compete with the electric car pioneers TeslaSome things in Motor City stay the same.

general motorsAnd Ford Motor And Stilants (formerly Fiat Chrysler) is all geared towards electric vehicles, seeking to capture Elon Musk’s car company in sales. However, the long-running rivalry between the three American automakers is still alive and well. This is especially true in the hotly contested market for full-size pickup trucks, which is a major profit driver for them.

Take, for example, the events of last week: As Ford prepares to celebrate the launch of its F-150 Lightning Tuesday at a plant in Dearborn, Michigan, General Motors and Co. Stilants He sought to steal the spotlight from their archenemy and his highly anticipated electric truck.

A day before the event, amid a string of stories on the F-150 Lightning, General Motors apparently confirmed that it will introduce a Chevrolet Corvette in Both hybrid and all-electric models in the coming years. The announcement, which industry onlookers had been anticipating for some time, was light on details, but it got GM into the Lightning news cycle.

Stellantis’ Ram Trucks brand was even more transparent about its intentions, when the brand released a teaser video on social media for its upcoming electric truck, saying, “It’s time to steal some thunder.”

Ford said it’s no surprise that its competitors are trying to phish F-150 Lightningwhich hit the market at least a year earlier than Chevy and Ram electric pickup trucks.

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“The F-150 Lightning is one of those rare products to be launched that transcends the automotive world and becomes a cultural moment, and it has been called the tipping point for America’s transition to electric vehicles. Of course, others will try to get into that,” said Mark Troby, chief communications officer for the company. Ford, told CNBC.

A GM spokesperson declined to comment on the timing of its announcement, but said “it’s only natural that the world will take notice when we confirm that the Corvette will go electric,” while touting the company’s other upcoming electric vehicles. A Ram spokesman declined to comment.

“She’s bloodthirsty, and she’s beautiful.”

Last week’s announcements are just the latest example in a long-running tradition of companies trying to compete with each other or engage in conversation. Automakers have legions of PR and marketing experts whose jobs include making sure their cars are spoken for.

“This rivalry started, I think in 1931,” said Jason Vines, a former auto PR executive known for debuting at auto shows. “Don’t act like it’s anything new.” “He’s bloodthirsty, he’s beautiful.”

Vines, who has worked at various times for Ford, Chrysler and Nissan, said when he was part of the launch of Chrysler’s Dodge Challenger that Chevrolet crashed the event with a new Chevrolet Camaro on a flatbed truck.

In 2016, Chevy launched a nationwide advertising campaign targeting the durability of the aluminum Ford truck bed, punching holes in it with tools and other things. And four years ago, during a Super Bowl ad Around the predicted apocalypse of the Maya, Chevy drivers survived, while Ford owner Dave didn’t make it.

Vines said executives at the automakers are living to outsmart their Motor City rivals.

These intercompany rivalries are not unique to the auto industry, but some car owners’ passion for the brands they drive is arguably unique. It is also a big business in merchandising as well as achieving long term brand loyalty among buyers.

GM seems to have particularly enjoyed taking shots at Ford’s best-selling F-Series Pickupsincluding the F-150 and its larger siblings, which Ford has described as a $42 billion franchise for the automaker.

An all-electric Chevrolet Silverado at the New York Auto Show, April 13, 2022.

Scott Millian | CNBC

This fierce competition also helps explain why car brands offer lucrative incentives to entice buyers to switch brands. It’s also driving innovation, according to Vines.

“Beauty, this is great for the American consumer,” Vines said. “These people, these men and women, are bloodthirsty in building the best product they can to steal customers away from each other.” “This is a beautiful part of our industry. We are looking for customers.”

In some cases, discounts go back decades and persist through generations.

Ford CEO Jim Farley, whose grandfather worked for the company, has always been enthusiastic about the companies he has worked for during his career. In a 2011 book “Once Upon a Car” by New York Times reporter Bill Vlasic, Farley was quoted as saying that he plans to enjoy hitting “Chevrolet on the head with a bat.”

Farley, who later apologized for the comments and publicly showed respect for his competitors, was the automaker’s head of marketing at the time: “We’ll hit them, and it’ll be fun,” he is quoted as saying in the book. “I hate them and they hate their company and what they stand for. I hate the way they succeed.”

Mary Barra, CEO of General Motors, attends Allen & Co. Sun Valley’s annual media conference in Sun Valley, Idaho, July 12, 2019.

Brendan McDermid | Reuters

While GM executives haven’t been public about their opinions of Ford, the automaker’s top executives — CEO Mary Barra and President Mark Royce — have had parents who work for the automaker. They have worked exclusively for the automaker during their careers.

Let’s go back to Tesla

Michael Krebs, executive analyst at Cox Automotive, said Detroit automakers need to focus less on each other if they want to succeed with electric vehicles. He said that the excessive focus on each other and the undervaluation of the newcomers is part of the reason why they lost their grip on the US market. It’s also how Tesla has been able to dominate the electric car market.

“While there’s this intense focus, especially with General Motors and Ford, you always know if one of them planned a big ad, and the other was going to try to sabotage it with a different one,” she said. “But at the same time, you know, the rest of the world keeps competing.”

Detroit automakers have certainly noticed the Tesla, which Farley himself drove last week at the Lightning event, noting that the pickup truck is capable of charging a Tesla. He also hinted that Ford’s truck is thousands of dollars less expensive than “competitor trucks, when they actually go on sale” — digging into the much-anticipated Tesla Cybertruck.

“We plan to challenge Tesla and all comers to become the largest maker of electric vehicles in the world,” Farley said, adding that the company To be the best selling auto maker of EV Pickups Musk’s sales challenge.

Of course, Barra has a different point of view at the GM: “I’m very comfortable, because when people come in [our vehicles]They were dazzled, ‘Para For CNBC last year. “So we’ll roll it out and we’ll keep working until we get the first market share in electric vehicles.”