Oct 2nd 2021 Edition (The Economist)
The switch to battery power is the latest showdown between Detroit’s heavyweights
In 1909 the founder of General Motors (gm), William Crapo Durant, offered to buy Ford for $8m. Henry Ford spurned the advance, making way for one of the fiercest and most multifaceted rivalries in corporate history. Does Ford’s harnessing of mass production with the one-size-fits-all Model t in 1908 trump the marketing genius of gm’s Alfred Sloan, who promised a “car for every purse and purpose” in the 1920s? Which is Detroit’s finest V8 engine: Ford’s “flat head” or the “small block” from Chevrolet, gm’s main brand? Did the looks of the Ford Thunderbird outshine the Corvette in the 1950s? Did the Chevrolet Camaro outmuscle the Mustang a decade later?
Even as petrolheads continue to squabble over the history, a new contest is brewing between America’s two mightiest carmakers that may be the most momentous in a century. It is the race to electrify their fleets, and especially pickups, the biggest source of profits for both companies. As part of this campaign gm has said it will build four battery factories by 2025 with its partner, lg Chem, a South Korean battery-maker. And on September 27th Ford and its battery partner, sk Innovation, also of South Korea, announced an investment of $11bn in three battery factories and an assembly plant for electric F-Series pickups.
Sep 30th 2021