KEY POINTS

  • Mike Levine reacted to an article about the Mach-E and the Tesla Model Y
  • He tweeted that Tesla customers "drive off with vaporware"
  • Ross Gerber responded to his tweet with criticism against Ford dealers

Tesla is currently conducting beta trials for its full self-driving (FSD) technology on supported EV models. However, there have been two reported instances wherein its automobiles on autopilot figured in crashes in the recent weeks. As the Mustang Mach-E makes its way to consumers, a Ford executive openly criticized the aforementioned system.

Mike Levine, North America product communications manager for Ford Motor Company, made the controversial remark when he shared a recent article published by the Associated Press News. The piece in question was a comparison between the Ford Mustang Mach-E and the Tesla Model Y.

"Why would Ford have to compare? Don't listen to me. Listen to the media. And return those $10K full-self driving deposits. Mach-E customers drive away with a car. Tesla customers drive off with vaporware," he wrote.

His tweet was prompted by an earlier post by Ross Gerber, co-founder, president and CEO of Gerber Kawasaki Wealth and Investment Management.

"Dear Ford. It serves no value to try to compare the Mach e to a tesla [sic]. It is not and it's not close [sic]. 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," Gerber said in his tweet.

Levine also tweeted that customers could reach out to him if they encounter a dealer adding a markup. "I'll help them find another dealer. Good luck reaching out to Tesla to get your FSD," he said.

As Business Insider puts it, Ford's electrification venture has made a substantial impact on Tesla's sales. A report sourced from Morgan Stanley shows that in February, the market share of Elon Musk's EV company dropped from 81 percent to 69 percent. Analysts believe this could be attributed to the strong sales of the Mustang Mach-E.

Ford also has plans to introduce autonomous driving capabilities to its electric vehicles starting with the eco-friendly SUV. Its Active Driver Assist feature was announced earlier this month and should be ready before the year ends.

Mustang Mach-E owners will need to pay a $600 activation fee to enable the functionality, according to Car and Driver. Similar to Ford's Super Cruise, Active Driver Assist will use sensors to monitor the driver's eye movement. This ensures the operator is not asleep or in the backseat.

Meanwhile, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has called for stricter regulations for self-driving systems on public roads. The latest slew of accidents involving Tesla is just one of the many recorded mishaps due to autonomous vehicle technologies.

Ford CEO James Hackett (R), shown here at the November 2019 unveiling of the Mustang Mach-E, vowed that the all-electric vehicle will help turn around Ford's fortunes Ford CEO James Hackett (R), shown here at the November 2019 unveiling of the Mustang Mach-E, vowed that the all-electric vehicle will help turn around Ford's fortunes Photo: AFP / Mark RALSTON