Ford’s Mach-E Mustang a masterstroke

It is a long game this car business, and I’m sure that somewhere in Ford’s HQ, in Dearborn in the USA, there is a room with the marketing plan for the Mach-E.

And within that plan will be pages and pages devoted to the expected controversy that has accompanied the announcement of the car. 

There will be various scenarios and scripts for executives to use based on anticipated reactions to the announcement. 

No one at Ford will be surprised at the range of reactions.

They knew.

They planned.

They have already experience the emotions themselves.

But for us outside the tight inner circle at Ford, the impact, like the car — has been electric. 

People are outraged.

They are yelling their discontent.

They are signing petitions to have the car’s name changed. 


Nothing better to do?

Meanwhile, less rowdy folks, like me, are applauding it as one of the smartest things Ford has done in many a year.

And if I was in the Mustang publicity bunker in Dearborn, I’d be breaking out the champagne right now.

I’d be waiting for a visit from the Ford Chairman, Bill Ford, to slap me on the back and congratulate me: “Great job! High fives all round! Everybody is talking MUSTANG!”

In other words, so far it looks like it is all going to plan. 

Yep, the world is talking Ford and Mustang. 

Nothing else out of the LA auto show has really rated a mention, except the strange thing Tesla calls a truck. 

Whatever you think of it, Ford has bet a good part of its future on this car. 

Mustang coupe sales have declined 10 per cent in the past 12 months. 

Ford executives will know the break even point when it is no longer viable to make the two-door sports car, and no longer viable to invest in a new model that will take them through to . . . say, 2030. 

They will have looked into the future and asked: “Have we reached ‘peak’ Mustang in coupe form?” 

The answer appears to be: YES!

So, bring on the Electric Horseman.

I do not know why so many people are complaining about a four-door Mustang. 

The idea is not new, and goes back to 1963, as our photos show. 

I argue in my Design to Driveway book series that the 1969 XW Falcon is as close to a four-door Mustang as you will get — until now. 

The XW’s wide, open mouth grille, recessed rear window and triple lens taillights (a Mustang signature, turned to the horizontal) were all done to emphatically reinforce Falcon’s links to Mustang. 

Then there’s FCA’s iconic Dodge Charger 1960s/1970s muscle car. 

It has been a four-door since 2006, and no one signed petitions trying to have its name changed?

From my perspective I think the Mach-E is a “go big or go home” play by Ford. 

It is bold and I think it will be a success. 

Suddenly the Mustang goes from being a niche “me” coupe, whose delights can only be realistically shared with one other person, into an experience that is shared by a family. 

I can see “Mustang” families with two cars in the driveway: a coupe and the Mach-E.

Ford describes the Mach-E as a sleek, beautiful SUV that delivers spirited ride and handling, with state-of-the-art connected vehicle technology that makes Mach-E even better over time.

When it arrives in late 2020, Mustang Mach-E will be available with standard and extended-range battery options, with either rear-wheel drive or all-wheel drive powered by permanent magnet motors.

Equipped with an extended-range battery and rear-wheel drive, Mach-E has a targeted EPA-estimated range of at least 500km.

In extended-range all-wheel-drive configurations, Mach-E is targeting 250kW of power and 565Nm of torque – with the standard all-wheel-drive version targeting quicker times to 100km/h than the base Porsche Macan.

Ford also will offer two special performance versions.

The GT is targeting 0-100km/h in under 4.0 seconds, making it faster off the line than a Porsche Macan Turbo.

The GT Performance Edition, meanwhile, is targeting a mid-3-second range making it comparable to a Porsche 911 GTS.

Both GT configurations will have an estimated 342kW of power and 830Nm of torque.

“The Mustang Mach-E wholeheartedly rejects the notion that electric vehicles are only good at reducing gas consumption,” Ford’s chief product development and purchasing officer, Hau Thai-Tang, said.

“People want a car that’s thrilling to drive, that looks gorgeous and that can easily adapt to their lifestyle – and the Mustang Mach-E delivers all of this in unmatched style.”

I admire Ford for having the guts to make the hard decisions, knowing full well the reaction it will have to endure. 

And I admire the fact that Ford has put the Sports back into the affordable Sports Utility Vehicle segment.

I want one.

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