Can this be more than the merest of coincidences? (Probably. Yeah.) Ford held its biggest car introduction of 2019 Sunday night: the unveiling of the Mustang Mach-E battery-electric SUV. Hundreds of media, analysts and bloggers gathered to see the car firsthand and hear Ford’s logic in transplanting the name from one of America’s most iconic sports cars and extending it onto an EV crossover — sporty, for sure, and fast, with one version rated for a Mustang-like 0-60 mph time of about 3.5 seconds. But a crossover.
Equally as interesting to some was Ford’s choice of the venue, Hawthorne Municipal Airport, four miles southeast of LAX. Why interesting: Because the 80-acre tract with its single short runway is home to Tesla Design studios and Elon Musk’s Space Exploration Technologies Corp., or SpaceX.
Tesla over the years has used the design studio for its own vehicle introductions that include media, Tesla owners/intenders, and friends of the marque. Tesla CEO Musk unveiled the Model 3 there in March 2016.
This year, it was the site for the Tesla Model Y compact crossover/SUV rollout March 14. Then Friday, Nov. 1, Musk used the massive SpaceX facility to say he’s taking a break from Twitter. The hiatus last until Monday.
There’s also a Tesla Supercharger stand, hard to find, tucked between the SpaceX building (X on the roof) and the Tesla Design building (the upside-down Tesla logo painted on the roof).
Ford didn’t have a lot to say about the location. At the press scrum after the formalities concluded, FoMoCo executive chairman Bill Ford Jr. was asked about the circumstances of the location, what with Ford being in Elon-land. Ford smiled and said, “That’s a coincidence.” And smiled some more.
The word around the airport was that Musk was not amused. Electrek quoted a pilot who flies in and out of KHHR as saying the airport was awash in stories about Musk’s disapproval. Musk has a private jet that is parked in a hangar adjacent to the 15 | 40 Productions event space that was snapped up by Ford for the big show Monday and media pre-briefings over the weekend. Although to be fair, the airport is so crowded, everything is next to everything at Hawthorne. When Ford ran test drives for the media Friday, the taxiway was closed down for a minute or two at a time so Ford could do 0-60 runs, and a line of slalom cones was placed in an alley between aircraft hangers.
Knowing Musk turned cranky because of his temporary neighbors from Dearborn no doubt made the cost of putting on a big show all the more delicious for Ford.
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