The man in charge of marketing the Ford F-150 calls Tesla a ‘credible competitor,’ but says Elon Musk won’t influence what Ford does with the electric version of its best-selling pickup truck

2019 Ford F-150.

2019 Ford F-150.

Ford announced in January that it planned to develop an all-electric version of its F-150 pickup truck.

The electric F-150, which does not yet have a release date, will face competition from established automakers like General Motors and newer companies like Tesla and Rivian. In June, Tesla CEO Elon Musk said the electric-car maker’s pickup truck would start at less than $50,000 and outperform both an F-150 and a Porsche 911.

“When you’re the leader for 42 years, you’ve always got a target on you from everybody, and it’s not new for somebody to look at F-150 as their benchmark and talk about it,” Brian Bell, Ford’s marketing manager for the F-150 and Ranger trucks, told Business Insider.

Bell added that Ford saw Tesla as a “credible competitor” and would study the company, just as it studies the rest of its rivals. But Tesla’s intentions won’t change how Ford approaches the electric F-150, Bell said.

“I wouldn’t tell you that [Musk’s] comments are going to adjust anything we do,” he said.

Read more: Towing capability is the one thing Ford F-150 customers want more than anything else, according to the head of marketing for the best-selling truck in the US

For some customers, the electric F-150 may have a few advantages over gas-powered models, Bell said.

Those advantages include not needing oil changes and the ability to charge at home.

“There’s advantages for electric vehicles that you see that customers want,” Bell said.

But as with any change to the F-150, like the introductions of the EcoBoost engine and an aluminum body, Ford will have to prove to customers that an electric powertrain is capable, durable, reliable, and makes the truck “a better tool for the job they’re doing,” Bell said.