Tesla is the company to beat when it comes to electric vehicles. However, a recent ad by Hyundai took aim not at the heart of the company but rather its head, CEO Elon Musk.
At the Geneva Motor Show, the South Korean automaker hoisted a huge sign outside the venue promoting its new subcompact electric sport-utility vehicle. Also included was a feisty line aimed directly at Musk.
"Your turn, Elon," the ad declares.
The ad is definitely provocative, even for an industry as competitive as the electric vehicle manufacturing. Despite car makers calling out each other in their ads, companies seldom call out executives by name.
However, the ad does mirror Musk's outspoken nature. The tech billionaire has been throwing jabs at traditional car manufacturers over the years for their for their "old-fashioned ways."
Just recently, Musk called Japanese automaker Toyota's legendary manufacturing prowess as outmoded. For a company constantly plagued by production bottlenecks, making such jabs requires a great deal of confidence, confidence that Hyundai seems to be channeling in their marketing efforts.
The Hyundai ad hopes to highlight the recently unveiled Kona as the "first electric compact SUV." This is apparently true however, that still depends on how competitor vehicles are classified.
"Hyundai's ad is intended to highlight the fact that some companies — including Hyundai — are bringing real solutions to the market, while others are just talking about them," Hyundai said in a statement to USA TODAY. "Hyundai respects the efforts of anyone moving forward the electrification of cars — not just with concepts and promises, but with action and products available now."
Being the only vehicle in its class, the Kona doesn't really need to compete with other vehicles classes at the moment. However, the recent ad is partly directed at Tesla's ability to create new and innovative vehicles, not on the capabilities of the vehicles itself.
But while good old competition is more than welcome, electric vehicle manufacturers should never forget that the real battle is against gas-powered vehicles with the ultimate goal of making electric vehicles the only vehicles on the road.