Tesla's investor day showed it is 'one generation ahead' of rival automakers in EV race, former Ford CEO says
Former Ford CEO Mark Fields saw Tesla's investor day as reaffirming the automaker's reign over the EV industry.
Though the event lacked details on new models, it demonstrated the company's leadership in key areas, he told CNBC.
"Tesla still has the leg-up on the competition, and I think they demonstrated that yesterday."
While Tesla stock sold off after its investor day failed to provide details on new EV models, former Ford CEO Mark Fields heard enough to remain confident in the company's future.
In particular, Wednesday's event was more like a conventional investor day and mostly lacked CEO Elon Musk's usual grandiose claims, he said in a CNBC interview on Thursday, though he's less sure of its goal to sell 20 million vehicles by 2030.
The company also showcased other executives, which could alleviate concern that Musk has been too distracted by his other business ventures. They also talked about "meat and potato" topics like cutting costs, improving margins, and EV-charging infrastructure.
The keys to winning the EV race will come down to product appeal, software or user interface, controlling cost, and consistent execution, he said.
"And Tesla right now is one generation ahead of the other automakers," Fields said, though rivals like Ford and Hyundai are making a lot of progress. "Tesla still has the leg-up on the competition, and I think they demonstrated that yesterday."
Tesla stock tumbled around 7% after Wednesday's presentation disappointed investors by not confirming any new car models. Instead, Musk's much-awaited "Master Plan 3" mainly established goals for Tesla to expand its role in achieving global sustainability.
Amid the things laid out on Wednesday was the firm's commitment to sell 20 million cars a year by 2030 and confirmation of a new Gigafactory in Mexico, potentially allowing the automaker to create vehicles at under $30,000.
However, Fields predicted that the EV industry will eventually have no one leader as the market continues to strengthen.
"There's going to be a number of winners and there's going to be a number of losers because, when you look at the adoption of EVs over time, I mean, this is a huge addressable market," he said.
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