10. FEEDBACK: Rivian working with Tesla
I got this awesome note from our reader Glenn M. about EV startup Rivian working with Ford.
“My guess (and it is only that) is that Rivian won't be so much a 'game-changer' for Ford as a 'game-preserver.' Already over 100% of Ford's global profits likely come from the F line of pickup trucks. In fact, the F150 line is probably the single most profitable platform in the world at present. And loyalty among Ford pickup (PU) buyers is legendary. And those buyers have followed Ford even as it took steps that might have been considered 'effete' by he-man truck buyers of even the recent past: downsizing engines and moving to a structure that used more aluminum (though note the frame rails are still steel). So Ford must be doing something right! And pickup buyers are not exactly chomping at the bit for electric drivetrains: there is essentially zero cross-shopping between PUs and EVs. That is in part of course because there is not yet a viable EV/PU. So if EV eventually comes to PU, adding Rivian to the mix will further cement Ford's leadership in PUs. Thus in my view the tie-up does not "change the game" for Ford, but helps to ensure they continue 'winning the game.'"
Thank you for your note, Glenn! I will say, I personally think Rivian (with backing from Ford and Amazon) is the most promising EV startup right now. I also think they’re going to appeal to customers who would have purchased a Land Rover or a Subaru, not necessarily serving as a direct competitor to Tesla. That would obviously change if/when Tesla comes out with their pickup truck. I think Ford is aware that a Tesla pickup may impact the EV market, which is why they are interested in developing an electric F150. We will see…