By on October 19, 2018

Image: Ford/YouTube

Ford Motor Company dropped its first Bryan Cranston-filled “Built Ford Proud” commercial today, offering the Breaking Bad alumnus an opportunity to cast aspersions at the company’s rivals, including industry startups. It’s filled with Ted Talk-bashing, futurespeak-trashing bravado linked together with a thread of get ‘er done, implying that talk is cheap, and real progress takes hard work.

You can count on Ford to build the future — that’s the message here.

Halfway through the ad, a 1960s Mustang blasting through a desert landscape morphs into a contemporary model, then morphs again into something else. But what is it?

Our worst fear was that this vehicle was the upcoming Mustang-inspired electric crossover. It’s a darkened shot at a distorted angle, but we can see that this vehicle’s face looks EV-only, swathed in plastic. A Mustang logo glows a color now synonymous with “green”: blue.

Surely Ford wouldn’t tempt civil unrest with a non-Mustang vehicle that actually bears a Mustang logo? Our minds raced. Will the Mustang become its own line? Is a Mustang X around the corner, or a Mustang EV X-Cross? Ford already ran into heated opposition when it announced the upcoming vehicle as the Mach 1 back in January.

Image: Ford/YouTube

It doesn’t seem likely. Looking closer after a bit of brightening, the vehicle’s face isn’t tall enough to be a crossover, and the tumblehome is pure Mustang. But the Mustang isn’t slated to offer a fully electric veriant — only a hybrid, beginning in 2020. While the mystery vehicle has certainly undergone a facelift, it certainly doesn’t look much like a hybrid. A hidden-from-view lower air opening and the two gills seen on either side of the front “grille” could conceivably emit enough airflow to keep a hybrid powertrain’s four-cylinder engine cool, but it seems too great of a styling departure for an aging generation of car. It’s worth noting that a next-generation Mustang is expected for 2021. Is this a hybrid next-gen model we see here, or just an idea of where the model could go somewhere down the line?

As you might expect, Ford’s not talking. When asked on Twitter about the strange pony car, Ford’s North American product communications manager Mike Levine said, “It’s a glimpse of the future. We are excited to show you more in the future. Stay tuned.”

Levine also said Ford had no plans to use the “EcoStang” name, which is just a waggish moniker that sprung into your author’s mind after viewing the video. Sounds fitting, though.

[Images: Ford/YouTube]

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