Ford and Tesla CEOs trade Twitter barbs and it gets personal

Ford and Tesla get catty

Ford didn't pull any punches when it announced its new BlueCruise highway driving assist feature on Wednesday.

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F FORD MOTOR CO. 12.93 +0.34 +2.70%

The press release for the hands-free, lane-keeping cruise control called out the similar features offered by Tesla and General Motors by name.

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TSLA TESLA INC. 221.31 +3.70 +1.70%
GM GENERAL MOTORS CO. 35.24 +1.11 +3.25%

Ford suggested that GM's use of red and green lighting to indicate its status makes Super Cruise challenging for people with color blindness and noted that Tesla's Autopilot requires a driver to always touch the steering wheel to prove they are paying attention, while BlueCruise uses facial recognition technology to allow hands-off operation.

Ford's CEO Jim Farley later tweeted a video highlighting a 110,000-mile road trip the company conducted to validate the system that he captioned "BlueCruise! We tested it in the real world, so our customers don’t have to," which was apparently an indirect shot at Tesla's practice of using its owners to test unfinished "Beta" versions of its Autopilot and Full Self-Driving software on public roads.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk didn't respond directly to Farley, but commented on a Teslarati tweet about the jab, saying "I found some footage of the drive" with a link to a clip from the Chris Farley comedy classic "Tommy Boy" depicting a ridiculous accident that occurred during the film's ill-fated road trip.

The late actor's last name isn't just a coincidence. Chris, who died tragically of a drug overdose in 1997 at age 33, is a first cousin to Jim, who has talked about how close they were when they were both living in Los Angeles.


Neither Ford nor Farley has commented on Musk's tweet, which was both praised and condemned in the comments by many of Musk's 50.8 million followers.