Even Ford Thinks the Mach 1 Shouldn't Be an Electric SUV…

Michael Accardi
by Michael Accardi

We know it’s a bad idea, you know it’s a bad idea, and as it turns out, even Ford knows using the legendary Mach 1 name on a “performance” battery electric SUV is a bad idea.

Initially, the rumblings were that Ford would revive the Mach 1 name for some kind of hybrid or full-blown battery electric high-performance Mustang. But it is not. Ford’s executive vice president and president of Global Markets, Jim Farley, quickly clarified to assembled media that the new boxy BEV could certainly be related to the Mustang, but would not be a Mustang.

Instead, the badge might live on the back of a new electric performance SUV coming in 2020. But Ford’s North American Product Communications Manager, Mike Levine, began backpedaling shortly after the announcement, following a groundswell of negative opinions. Levine was adamant the company was only considering using the Mach 1 name, claiming the Blue Oval brand would listen to public reaction before making an actual decision.

That may be Ford’s official public stance, but inside the company, there was at least one true believer who tried to dissuade the brand from turning a hallowed nameplate into a virtue-signaling simulacrum. A highly placed internal source familiar with the matter expressed his displeasure with the decision from the outset.

In October, Ford announced it would invest $11 billion in battery-electric technology with the creation of Team Edison, and in December the brand announced its autonomous and electric vehicle business would move to a newly refurbished factory in Detroit’s historic Corktown district with the goal of transforming Ford into the most trusted mobility company in the world. The proposed Mach 1 BEV project aims to bring together the Mustang’s high-level athleticism with the practicality of an Explorer.

“Taking everything that means to our customers, both on the rational and the emotional level, electrifying that, and coming out with that. So it’s a combination, and that gives you a good idea of what we’re thinking for that vehicle. The issue isn’t that it’s an electric crossover, the issue is the name. I knew this was going to be a problem.”

On the surface, it’s almost as if Ford is deliberately mocking its bread and butter loyalists, amplifying the symbolic dissociation between the brand and its enthusiasts.

Shortly after Ford announced it might bastardize the Mach 1 name, Dan Gurney passed away. It was an eerie coincidence that ethereally sums up the mercantilist jamais vu the industry is trying to shove down the throats of the very people who genuinely love it.

[Image: Corey Lewis/TTAC]

Michael Accardi
Michael Accardi

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  • Ronnie Schreiber Ronnie Schreiber on Jan 17, 2018

    A high performance battery electric Mustang would be a bold move, particularly since Marchionne announced that Ferrari is going to be making an electric supercar.

  • Superdessucke Superdessucke on Jan 17, 2018

    I bet Gurney went down after hearing this blasphemy. My heart barely took it and I'm much younger. What a final image for a true automotive legend to carry with him into the beyond from this mortal coil. Jerks. May he RIP.

  • Analoggrotto The ORDER BOOKS in Australia have netted 300% above projection. Australia is so awesome and they are embracing the Telluride DIesel to overtake the Prado. Pentagon data, and eATPs rule the discussion, bar none. Toyota fans can go home with their sorry little turbo 4 cylinder.
  • Analoggrotto Such a loving artful tribute to TTAC's greatest godfather is much welcomed. There's a new and better PORSCHE and they are from SOUTH KOREA baby! After years of Japanese oppression, SOUTH KOREA is the TIGER of the Far EAST. We just need a modern day James Dean and that would be Rhys Millen!
  • Groza George Our roads and bridges are crumbling and increasing vehicle weight will only make bridges crumble faster. We need more infrastructure work.
  • Wolfwagen Pennsylvania - Two long straights, 1 medium straight, 1 super short straight and a bunch of curves all on one end
  • Haze3 EV median weight is in the range of 4500-5500lbs, similar to the low end of full size pickup trucks and SUV's or typical mid-size PU's and SUV's. Obviously, EV Hummers and PU's are heavier but, on average, EV=PU or mid/full SUV is about right. EV's currently account for ~1% of the cars on the road. PU's account for 17% and SUV's count for over 40%. If we take out light SUV's, then call it 30% SUV or so. So, large-ish PU's and SUV's, together, account for ~50% of the US fleet vs 1% for EV's. As such, the fleet is ALREADY heavy. The problem is that EV's will be making the currently lighter 50% heavier, not that PU/SUV haven't already done most of the damage on avg mass.Sure, the issue is real but EV responsibility is not. If you want to get after heavies, that means getting after PU/SUV's (the current problem by 40-50x) first and foremost.