Was Ford right to use the Mustang name for the Mach-E EV crossover?

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November 18, 2019 10:00 AM

Was Ford right to use the Mustang name for the Mach-E EV crossover?

‘Mustang the performance sub-brand’ could be in the works, with more models on the way.

Jay Ramey

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Pictured: All of these are now Mustangs.

Live long enough, and you will see your ’60s sports car name applied to an electric crossover. If you’d told us back in 2009 that Ford would field a crossover EV a decade later we would have believed you, because the future from the vantage point of 2009 certainly looked electric. But if you’d told us that it would have Mustang in its name and would borrow styling cues from the actual Ford Mustang, we would have probably been surprised.
We’ve now seen the Mustang Mach-E and know its specs, but what about its identity? Was it the right move on Ford’s part to borrow the Mustang name and use its styling, applying both to an electric crossover that will be built in Mexico and will compete with the likes of the upcoming Tesla Model Y and Volkswagen ID.4? This isn’t a one-off experiment, because Ford is believed to be planning to make Mustang into a sub-brand over the next few years that will make further use of the Mustang name and design elements, applying them to a whole range of cars. 
In the near future, telling someone that you drive a Mustang could mean a whole lot of things.
But we have to wonder how this Mustang Mach-E will carve its own path, and how will it be viewed 20 years down the road. Will it face a fate similar to the Mustang II, or will it be welcomed to the family as “also a type of Mustang”? 
The closest parallel to this move perhaps occurred about 20 years ago, when Cadillac applied its crest to what was basically a big GM SUV; over time, the Escalade has proven that an SUV can also be Cadillac. (Granted, it wasn’t the Corvette or Camaro name applied to an SUV or crossover, but it’s the closest example from the recent automotive past.)
The counterargument to Ford’s use of the Mustang name is that instead of creating a new identity, a new name, new iconography and new design, Ford is mining its history to kick-start its electric car lineup. And we have no doubt that Ford’s marketing and design teams went through a lot of alternatives created from scratch and did not use any Mustang themes at all. But at some point, all of those alternatives were put aside in favor of a Mustang theme. 
 

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In profile there’s more Model X than Mustang.

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Mach-E on the PCH

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Ford insists that this is a new Mustang.

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Rear three-quarter does have some Mustang.

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Does that grille look like a Mustang?

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From here it looks like a Honda Crosstour.

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Ford says the Mach-E GT Performance Edition is equipped with MagneRide Damping System, an adaptive suspension technology that lets drivers hug the road while delivering an exciting, comfortable ride.  

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Mach-E shines at night.

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Mustang Mach-E comes equipped with 19-inch machined-face aluminum wheels with high gloss black-painted
pockets.

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That’s the Petersen Automotive Museum in the background.

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Mach-E on the PCH

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A man and his Mach

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Charging is easy.

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15.5-inch touchscreen features Ford’s first use of Next-Gen Sync.

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First look: Ford Mustang Mach-E

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Ford says that by moving the vehicle’s front wheelbase forward, it was able to give Mustang Mach-E the space needed to design its signature hood and aggressive headlights. 

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The Mach-E’s 15.5-inch touchscreen

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Mustang-ish taillights

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The door handle is just a little pull bar.

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Ford says it’s offering its all-electric vehicle customers North America’s largest electric vehicle public charging network, with more than 12,000 places to charge, including fast charging, and more than 35,000 charge plugs.

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Ford is providing two years of complimentary access to North America’s largest network—the FordPass Charging Network—for easy and convenient pay-as-you-drive charging. The FordPass Charging Network includes more than 12,000 charging stations with more than 35,000 plugs.

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Ford says that through FordPass on a mobile device or in each vehicle’s on-screen dashboard, customers will be able to monitor charging at home and easily find and pay for one-stop charging at FordPass Charging Network stations.

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The 48-amp Ford Connected Charge Station can fully power a vehicle overnight, adding an estimated average range of 32 miles per charging hour.

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From that point of view, is the use of the Mustang name and design features symptomatic of a creative rut of sorts, or at the very least a rehashing of old themes, like reusing plot lines of original “Star Trek” episodes from the mid-1960s in the present day? We have to imagine that there were plenty of alternatives that Ford rejected, judging that the use of the Mustang name was deemed preferable.
We also have to wonder a little bit if this name and design direction will pass the test where someone asks a new owner in a parking lot about what he or she is driving, genuinely not knowing what the crossover is, and the owner tells them what it’s called. Will it sound silly, or will the passerby say, “Ah, Mustang, of course—this makes total sense.” Will that person ask them what Mach-E is, or how it’s spelled, and will they instead hear it as “Mark E?” And what does Mach-E mean to a car buyer from 2020 who’s buying an electric crossover?
Ford has certainly focus-grouped all of these things, we have to believe, and has decided that this name and the Mustang Mach-E nameplate makes sense to a 2020 car buyer and in no way intrudes upon or dilutes the half-century-old Mustang tradition, but rather builds upon it.
Was Ford right to use the Mustang name for an EV crossover? Let us know in the comments below.

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Source:https://autoweek.com/article/green-cars/was-ford-right-use-mustang-name-mach-e-ev-crossover

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