Ford CEO: We have expertise to do Tesla-like vehicle

James R. Healey,12:16 p.m. EDT October 24, 2014


Ford CEO Mark Fields says the company has the expertise and ability to build a Tesla-style full-size, high-tech, high-performance, long-range electric vehicle.

Fields stopped short of saying Ford will do so, but did say, “It’s consistent with our product philosophy.”

Ford’s only all-electric is the small Focus electric. It also sells plug-in hybrids.

Fields made the Tesla comment Friday during a conference call with Wall Street investment analysts and reporters following Ford’s third quarter earnings announcement.

Ford said it has no plan to emulate the Tesla Model S — a big, four-door hatchback sedan. But a larger vehicle of some kind, with greater range and better performance than the Focus electric, would fit Ford’s lineup and its emphasis on technology, the automaker said.

In the conference call, Fields said Ford has the engineering and manufacturing sophistication to do such a model, with the range and quickness that characterize the Model S.

Ford has a Tesla Model S and, Fields said, “We drove it. We took it apart. We put it back together and we drove it again.”

In its earnings report Friday, Ford (F) said it had pre-tax profit of $1.2 billion the quarter and net income of $835 million, both well down from a year ago on higher costs, lower sales volumes.