Shots fired: Tesla customers "Drive Off With Vaporware"
Ford's North America Product Communications manager is an entertaining guy to follow on Twitter. In a world of ultra-disciplined PR execs pushing the corporate messaging, Mike Levine is genuinely passionate about Ford and refreshingly happy to speak his mind. In this case, he replies to a snotty tweet from investment "influencer" Ross Gerber, who wrote: "Dear Ford. It serves no value to try to compare the Mach e to a tesla. It is not and it's not close. Also. It will serve you to not have your dealers ripping off EV customers with BS $5000 fees. You should return the money to the customers you ripped off." Understandably, Levine had something to say in reply.
Ford has been under fire lately for some of its dealers demanding insane markups for the Mach-E. However, it's fair to note Ford isn't the only company that has to deal with the dealership model. Franchise laws in the US restrict automakers in most states from selling directly to the customer and require new cars to be sold only by licensed and independently owned dealerships. That's not what Levine chooses to point out, though, and is more than happy to poke at Tesla's overblown promises to its customers.
"Mach-E customers drive away with a car. Tesla customers drive off with vaporware," Levine points out, referencing Tesla's misleadingly titled Full Self-Driving Capability option.
On Tesla's website, you can order Full Self-Driving Capability for $10,000, which has a lot of small print attached. In the small print, Tesla notes that "The currently enabled features require active driver supervision and do not make the vehicle autonomous" and that "As these self-driving features evolve, your car will be continuously upgraded through over-the-air software updates."
Levine does address the Mach-E markup issue while taking another shot at Tesla before signing off. "Any Mach-E customer who sees a dealer adding a markup can reach out to me. I'll help them find another dealer. Good luck reaching out to Tesla to get your FSD," he says.