Ford Motor Company Executive Chairman Bill Ford said the United States cannot compete with China in the production of electric vehicles yet.
In an interview with CNN's Fareed Zakaria GPS Sunday program, Ford echoed comments from other top automotive executives regarding China's dominance in EV manufacturing.
"They developed very quickly, and they developed them in large scale. And now they're exporting them. They're not here but they'll come here we think, at some point, we need to be ready, and we're getting ready."
Bill Ford, who is the great-grandson of company founder Henry Ford, said the automaker's new $3.5 billion EV battery plant in Michigan that will build LFP (lithium iron phosphate) cells under license from China's CATL is a chance for Ford engineers to learn the technology and then use it themselves.
"It (Michigan) is a wholly owned Ford facility. They'll be our employees, and all we're doing is licensing the technology. That's it," he said.
Bill Ford's comments come after Ford CEO Jim Farley said last month that Chinese EV makers are the company's main rivals in the sector, and that the automaker needs lower costs or distinct branding to beat Chinese automakers.
"I think we see the Chinese as the main competitor, not GM or Toyota. The Chinese are going to be the powerhouse," Ford's head honcho said.
Tesla CEO Elon Musk also spoke in complimentary terms about Chinese automakers and their EVs several times in the past. In January, he said he respected carmakers in China, which he believes are the most competitive in the world.
"They work the hardest and they work the smartest. And so if I were to guess, probably some company out of China is the most likely to be second to Tesla," Musk said.
China's leading electric vehicle maker is BYD, which ranked second behind Tesla in 2022 in global BEV sales with 911,141 units, compared to the US company's 1,313,851. China also has EV startups with a global presence, including Nio and XPeng, and EV brands from established carmakers, including Polestar, Zeekr, Ora, MG, and others.