It’s no secret that Ford isn’t that big of a Tesla fan. However, a corporate communications officer for Ford has gone to a shocking level on Twitter and even called the Tesla Full Self-Driving (FSD) suite “vaporware.”
Ross Gerber, Co-Founder & CEO of Gerber Kawasaki, spoke out against Ford dealership issues and tagged Mike Levine. Ross called out Ford for some of its dealers ripping off EV customers with $5,000 fees and stated that Ford should return the money to the customers they ripped off. Ross also tweeted that it didn’t serve Ford any value to compare the Mach-E to a Tesla.
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. https://t.co/bpC8JRNTR1 https://t.co/y3ZOcIos3H
— Mike Levine (@mrlevine) March 21, 2021
In response to Ross’s tweets, Levine went on an anti-Tesla Twitter rant. Not only did he claim that Tesla customers drive off with vaporware, but he also dipped his toes into customer service by telling any Mach-E customer to reach out to him if a dealer is adding a markup. Then he ranted about Tesla and FSD, saying, “Good luck reaching out to Tesla to get your FSD.”
I have another patch of LTE. While @GerberKawasaki basks in the healthy glow of his iPad obsessing about the #MustangMachE, I’m tied up for the next few hours enjoying life. It’s Spring! Put the iPad down. pic.twitter.com/6lXz2W7k8O
— Mike Levine (@mrlevine) March 21, 2021
His advice to Ross Gerber, who also noted that the only thing working in the Mach-e was the radio, was to put the iPad down. “I have another patch of LTE. While @GerberKawasaki basks in the healthy glow of his iPad obsessing about the @MustangMachE, I’m tied up for the next few hours enjoying life. It’s Spring! Put the iPad down,” Levine tweeted. Lovely customer service, indeed.
I played the actual radio for the first time in years. That’s all that worked.
— Ross Gerber (@GerberKawasaki) March 22, 2021
TopSpeed noted that Elon Musk actually liked the Mach-e and was pleased and excited–not worried at all. I believe this is mainly due to Tesla’s core mission, which is focused on sustainability. Tesla has always been pretty supportive and encouraging when it comes to seeing automakers bringing attractive EVs to the market, but TopSpeed noted that it’s yet to see an automaker that can actually do what Tesla does.
Ross Gerber’s Thoughts?
I asked Ross what he thought of this and he shared his thoughts with me.
“I actually liked the Mach-E and think it’s a great Ford EV. I just don’t think it’s smart for Ford to compare to a Tesla or even worse put it down. Ford would have never built the Mach-E if it wasn’t for Tesla. Ford issues with dealer fees and their sales process is my issue with Ford. Also, it was very apparent that Ford has no desire to sell Mach-Es. … They are selling lots of gas guzzler Broncos with high margins. That’s what Ford does. This car is just so they can say they have an EV.”
Ross also spoke of Levine’s attacks on him and Tesla and noted it was due to him being upset with Ford trying to charge him an extra $5,000 on top of the $60,000 MSRP. Ross explained that Levine called the dealer before he got there and made them stop. “Which makes Ford look even worse,” he told me. “That’s what set him off. They rip off EV buyers, that’s what they are doing,” and Ross caught them red-handed.
It’s great that Levine stopped the dealer from ripping Ross off, but not so great that Levine has to personally do that on a case-by-case basis and that he went on an anti-Tesla rant. Levine represents Ford, after all, and Levine’s “put your iPad down” isn’t really the right solution a customer needs to hear when the company they just purchased from is in the wrong.
Ross told me that the dealer told him before the test drive that there was going to be an additional $5,000 fee but that Levine stopped it.
“When I got there for the drive. The guy was like, wow we had a meeting this morning and the fee was removed. Good news for you,” which, Ross told me, made him even more upset because the dealer was scamming other EV buyers.
Ross explained that this is probably what upset Levine as well, who is now offering to pay people back for the fees. Ross surmised that this has been going on for the Mach-E in general. “The dealers pretend that they are sold out and then charge an extra fee when they are NOT sold out. This is not a legal business practice. I’ve gotten many messages from several EV buyers that paid this extra fee.”
Scamming people isn’t right, but it happens often. Since Levine publicly stated that he would refund the fees, if you purchased a Mach-E and paid the extra $5,000 fee, I would tweet at him if I were you.