Ford blew up the internet when it told the world that the new four-door Mach-E electric vehicle would also be called a Mustang, although that really shouldn’t have come as a shock.
For months, the company hinted that the Mach-E would have some Mustang styling cues. There were even teaser illustrations to prove it.
Still, Twitter and Facebook lit up with arguments about whether the Mach-E could rightfully be called a Mustang. Most of the comments I read were from enthusiasts who of course hate the idea, even though Ford has no intention of discontinuing the regular two-door Mustang. Now that would be something to be upset about.
Regardless of Ford’s claim of Mustang-like performance, the Mach-E is an electric vehicle. An electric utility vehicle. It doesn’t burn gasoline and there are two too many doors. No, it most definitely is not a Mustang, but that’s irrelevant.
Block out all that noise and it’s quickly apparent Ford is using the Mustang name to draw attention to and sell a new product. It’s a marketing strategy and one that’s working. Hey, it’s what car companies do. They create hype, drama and conversation.
Whether Ford intends to create a Mustang brand with several vehicles matters not at the moment. What matters is the Focus Electric. The what, you say? Exactly.
The Mach-E isn’t the first EV that Ford has built, but the point is you probably have never heard of the Focus Electric. All eyes are on the Mach E because it’s called a Mustang. Ford is guiding the conversation about its new EV, with Mustang lovers doing the heavy lifting as they share, a million times over, pictures and comments about how the Mach-E isn’t really a Mustang. Ironic and brilliant. That, of course, never happened with the Focus Electric, and look where that ended up. Nowhere.
In a story posted online last week, Ford Canada confirmed to Automotive News Canada that "all First Edition are sold out in Canada,” and the car is at least a year away. Would any of that be happening if the vehicle had not been named the Mustang Mach-E? It seems unlikely.
The best thing perhaps is that Ford has maintained flexibility going forward. The Mach-E could be a one hit wonder or the first vehicle of a Mustang brand. It’s Ford’s choice and the cat is out of the bag now, so the next announcement, if there is one, won’t be as big of a shock. Another vehicle will no doubt spark similar conversation online, however.
I’m inclined to think the Mach-E is the Mustang for non-Mustang buyers who need room and utility. For the people who would have never considered a “normal” Mustang in the first place, but are intrigued by the notion of a sporty EV with some Mustang DNA.
Is a Mustang purist going to buy a Mach-E? Not likely, and that’s what makes it brilliant marketing.