Bark's Bites: The Mustang Mach-E Is a Litmus Test and All of Us Failed

Mark "Bark M." Baruth
by Mark "Bark M." Baruth
bark s bites the mustang mach e is a litmus test and all of us failed

I’m so glad that the collective internet reacted calmly and rationally to the launch of the Mustang Mach-E yesterday. I was worried that people would succumb to the “Sucks or Rocks” philosophy that is so completely pervasive in not only automotive journalism but spreading throughout society at large. Thanks be to the God of your understanding, most people opted for a measured response to Ford’s first (relatively) high volume electric effort.

Nah, just kidding. Y’all went apeshit, just like Ford wanted you to.

I admit, as one of the very few automotive journalists who’s ever actually spent his own money on a brand-new Mustang, I overreacted a bit to the initial leaks, as well. You’re calling this coal-powered, ugly-ass, Tesla wannabe a MUSTANG? Go choke on Steve McQueen’s dong (as seen on Jalopnik)!

But the more I think about it, the more I understand that Ford did exactly the right thing by calling this new electrified crossover a Mustang. Read on.

Perhaps you’ve heard of this new anti-meth campaign that South Dakota has? The slogan is “Meth. We’re on it.” The general idea behind the campaign is that the State of South Dakota is taking care of, or “on,” the meth problem facing its residents. Now, as somebody who’s been in marketing for more than a decade, I would have initially said that this was a terrible idea, as the typical connotation associated with saying you’re on drugs is somewhat less than positive. Also, the State of South Dakota has not, historically, been great with advertising.

However, what are the chances that the Washington Post would ever write about the anti-drug campaign of South Dakota if it were conventional? Hell, my home commonwealth of Kentucky has one of the worst meth problems of any state in the union, and nobody wants to talk about it. So South Dakota, through unconventional methods, has gotten more buzz about their campaign than they ever could have through traditional means.

Ford found itself in a similar situation. While there’s no doubt that this, ahem, uniquely styled crossover would have garnered a significant amount of attention regardless of the nameplate, there was only one way to ensure that this thing broke the internet, and that was by attaching the most prominent model name in the history of American automotive manufacturing (fight me) to it. Everybody is talking about this car, and I don’t mean everybody in the automotive press. I mean almost literally everybody.

My social media feed has been overwhelmed by the Mach-E, with comments that are nearly exactly the opposite of what people who can’t afford and will never buy this car — the automotive press — are saying. People love the look. They’re fascinated by the performance numbers. They’re excited about the opportunity to own a “Mustang” that actually fits their needs. Four doors! All-wheel drive!

The chances of receiving this much buzz by calling it the “Ford E-Something-That-Starts-With-E-Because-It’s-a-Ford-CUV?” Zilch. Zero. Nada. And the risk? Also nearly none. Because none of the people bitching about the name were ever going to buy it, regardless of what you called it. But people who want a Mustang but couldn’t previously justify one because of their 2.2 kids, white picket fence, suburban lifestyle will be lining up. They’re gonna sell all they can make.

And here’s the even crazier thing. I might actually buy one for myself.

I mean, why the hell not? As Katt Williams might say, it does look like a Mustang, until a Mustang pulls up. The 0-60 numbers are quicker than anything my Boss 302 ever posted (no, I don’t care about 0-60, but everybody else does). It won’t be of any use whatsoever at the track, but neither is my Ford Flex, ya dig? And I can put my kids in it, and they’ll like that it’s a Mustang, just like the yellow one Daddy used to have. And with the federal tax credit I’ll be getting, I can even afford to install a charger in my house without selling my soul to the devil.

Plus, let’s not forget that they’re still more than happy to sell you a gas-powered, supercharged, V8, two-door Mustang if you want one. Which, of course, nobody actually does.

So just stop it, okay? If you don’t like the EcoStangMachBoostE, then don’t buy one. Better yet, stop talking about it. If you’re really angry about something on the internet, the worst possible way to protest it is to click it, share it, and comment on it. But Ford was counting on you doing exactly that, and y’all fell for it. The only fool that you’re fooling is the fool that is you.

Now, please excuse me while I make my reservation. Wait, what? They put a GT badge on that rolling abortion? Oh, hell nah!

[Image: Chris Tonn/TTAC]

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2 of 61 comments
  • Superdessucke Superdessucke on Nov 20, 2019

    I think the Mustang Tuna Maki will do just fine, of course. I think the issue is going to be when the market changes 5 years from now, but I suppose that issue was beyond this product launch. I still think Ford would be better off trying to maintain brand equity in the small car segment but we'll see.

  • Gearhead77 Gearhead77 on Nov 20, 2019

    My problem is just with the name itself. Mach E? How about Mustang Electron or something else like that? The wails of Mustang dilution are justified, but not the intensity of them. Ford needs to appeal to as many buyers as they can and for some having the Mustang name on something that isn't a pony car is what they want. Mustang II carried the name through a dark time, maybe this carries the name beyond? As long as this allows Ford to build "real" Mustangs for those who want them, who cares?

  • Ollicat I have a Spyder. The belt will last for many years or 60,000-80,000 miles. Not really a worry.
  • Redapple2 Cadillac and racing. Boy those 2 go together dont they? What a joke. Up there with opening a coffee shop in NYC. EvilGM be clowning. Again.
  • Jbltg Rear bench seat does not match the front buckets. What's up?
  • Theflyersfan The two Louisville truck plants are still operating, but not sure for how much longer. I have a couple of friends who work at a manufacturing company in town that makes cooling systems for the trucks built here. And they are on pins and needles wondering if or when they get the call to not go back to work because there are no trucks being made. That's what drives me up the wall with these strikes. The auto workers still get a minimum amount of pay even while striking, but the massive support staff that builds components, staffs temp workers, runs the logistics, etc, ends up with nothing except the bare hope that the state's crippled unemployment system can help them keep afloat. In a city where shipping (UPS central hub and they almost went on strike on August 1) and heavy manufacturing (GE Appliance Park and the Ford plants) keeps tens of thousands of people employed, plus the support companies, any prolonged shutdown is a total disaster for the city as well. UAW members - you're not getting a 38% raise right away. That just doesn't happen. Start a little lower and end this. And then you can fight the good fight against the corner office staff who make millions for being in meetings all day.
  • Dusterdude The "fire them all" is looking a little less unreasonable the longer the union sticks to the totally ridiculous demands ( or maybe the members should fire theit leadership ! )