Ford fires back after Tesla's Elon Musk calls it a 'morgue'

A Ford executive took a swipe at Tesla’s production woes after the electric car maker’s CEO, Elon Musk, called his Detroit rival a “morgue.”

In an interview with The Wall Street Journal, Musk suggested that morale among Tesla employees remains strong, despite the company’s struggles to quickly ramp up production of the Model 3 sedan in the wake of delays.

“I’m feeling good about things,” he said. “I think there’s a good vibe—I think the energy is good; go to Ford, it looks like a morgue.”

The remark drew a response from Ford Vice President of Communications Mark Truby, who jabbed Musk over Tesla’s use of a large outdoor tent that houses a Model 3 assembly line.

“No doubt the vibe is funky in that ‘makeshift tent,’ but it’s not bad either across the street at the #FordRouge plant where a high quality, high-tech F-150 rolls off the line every 53 seconds like clockwork,” Truby wrote. “Come check it out @elonmusk.”

Tesla is working in overdrive to increase production of the Model 3, a vehicle that’s aimed at more mainstream buyers with a starting price of $35,000. But Tesla has missed internal production targets, and customers looking to buy one of the cheaper models must wait until at least the end of 2018. The company has stuck by its projection that it will build 5,000 Model 3s per week by the end of June, despite falling short of its first-quarter goal.

Musk has often criticized Ford and other traditional automakers, who are competing with Tesla to develop electric and self-driving cars. Musk once responded to an article about an investor group vying for more independent directors on Tesla’s board, saying, “This investor group should buy Ford stock. Their governance is amazing.”

Ticker Security Last Change Change %
TSLA TESLA INC. 241.41 -2.71 -1.11%
F FORD MOTOR CO. 12.35 -0.08 -0.68%

Ford Executive Chairman Bill Ford Jr. recently told CBS that Musk was starting to figure out that “building a car company is more difficult than he first thought it might be.” But Ford Jr. also said he saw similarities between the Blue Oval and Tesla, adding that he has always been impressed by Musk.