DETROIT — Tesla Inc.’s Elon Musk plainly says his pickup is a “better truck than an F-150.” Ford Motor Co. is taking issue with that claim. Maybe.
While releasing a series of specs last week for Cybertruck, which is scheduled to start deliveries as soon as late 2021, Musk called up a video of the the pickup in a tug-of-war against Ford’s best-selling F-150. He tweeted a clip of the test on Sunday showing his vehicle pulling a screeching Ford model up a hill.
Ford thinks Musk was making an apples-to-oranges comparison. The video the Tesla CEO tweeted appears to show a two-wheel drive version of the F-150 against an all-wheel drive Cybertruck. Other details that could have factored in which pickup won out include curb weight and tire type.
Sundeep Madra, vice president of Ford X, the automaker’s unit for developing new business models, challenged Musk on Monday to send Ford a Cybertruck. He linked to a post by the car-enthusiast site motor1.com that questioned whether Tesla’s test was “fair game.”
Musk responded to Madra: “Bring it on.”
But the story took another twist on Tuesday. According to Fox News, a Ford spokeswoman was asked if Tesla had reached out to Ford to set up a competition. The response was that “Sunny’s tweet was tongue in cheek to point out the absurdity of Tesla’s video, nothing more.”
“With America’s best-selling truck for 42 years, we’ve always focused on serving our truck customers regardless of what others say or do. We look forward to our all-new F-150 hybrid coming next year and all-electric F-150 in a few years,” the spokeswoman told Fox.
Tesla and Ford have been at this before. More than a year after Musk tweeted a boast about how much weight Tesla’s truck would be able to tow, Ford released a promotional video of an electric F-150 prototype dragging more than 1 million pounds of double-decker rail cars.
Here’s a breakdown of how Ford’s most popular gasoline-fueled F-150 stacks up against Tesla’s most commonly ordered Cybertruck as of Saturday, according to a Musk tweet.
Bloomberg and Automotive News contributed to this story.