Ford's product chief speaks. Tesla should listen.
The Ford Mustang Mach-E is a huge deal for the Blue Oval. It's only the beginning of what will be a long line of all-electric vehicles and the stakes couldn't be higher. While EVs currently only account for around two percent of new vehicle sales in the US, this is expected to significantly increase in the coming few years, and the Mustang Mach-E will be ready. By then, Ford hopes it'll have cemented its reputation as an EV leader. One way of doing so will be product quality.
As we all know, Tesla has suffered from numerous quality control issues over the past few years, such as stuck door handles, subpar seat stitching, poor paint jobs, and, of course, roofs that suddenly fly off. Tesla has acknowledged these issues and, to its credit, worked quickly to address them.
Speaking to Autoblog, Darren Palmer, Ford's Global Product Development Director, made clear Mustang Mach-E customers will never face such build issues. He didn't even have to mention Tesla by name. "The doors fit properly, the plastics and other materials color-match, the bumpers don't fall off, the roof doesn't come off when you wash it, the door handles don't get stuck in cold weather," he explained.
Palmer is simply making clear that Mach-E and Ford EV buyers, won't need to worry about flaws and problems oftentimes associated with new technologies. Ford has suffered its own troubled product launches, most recently with the latest Explorer and Lincoln Aviator.
The executive also made an interesting point regarding the launch of the original Apple iPhone back in 2007. At first, mainstream buyers, as opposed to first adapters, were hesitant about spending the extra money on a phone.
"But you have to charge it every night, and my phone lasts three days." In other words, they were not impressed. They saw the shortcomings, not what it could do," he explained. Their opinions changed once they had a chance to try one. "They'd say, 'Oh my word, why didn't I try this before? This is a revelation to me.' Electric cars will be like that."
Ford hopes its mainstream brand status will lure in first time EV buyers who, for whatever reason(s), were not interested in buying a Tesla. Guaranteeing top-notch product quality is a must.