By on November 19, 2019

2019 Ford Mustang Shelby GT350 Velocity Blue On Track

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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61 Comments on “Bark’s Bites: The Mustang Mach-E Is a Litmus Test and All of Us Failed...”


  • avatar
    Matt51

    Ford should hire Mary Barra. They think alike. That is not a compliment.

  • avatar
    Art Vandelay

    Reserved

  • avatar
    ajla

    “They’re gonna sell all they can make.”

    Put some numbers on the prediction.

  • avatar
    ajla

    “They’re excited about the opportunity to own a “Mustang” that actually fits their needs. Four doors! All-wheel drive!”

    So why the heck did Ford wait until now to offer a Mustang with a more utilitarian body style? 2-door, RWD cars haven’t been the primary vehicle choice of people for over 30 years.

  • avatar
    Lie2me

    Celebrity rule #1 “Any publicity is better then NO publicity”

    So, Ford just now figured that out? Brilliant! Just wait until you see the all new Model T coming out

  • avatar
    ToddAtlasF1

    Peugeot should call the next Town&Country the Ferrari Daytona! Now soccer moms can drive a Ferrari Daytona that fits their needs!

  • avatar
    schmitt trigger

    As I have mentioned previously, it is time to bring the E-dsel.

    Having made my snarky comment, I have to admit that Bark does make a valid point.

    Everybody is talking about it. Hopefully Google is compiling some analytics on the “Mach-E” searches, and I am sure Ford executives will be very happy with them.

  • avatar
    Jon

    I didn’t. Ketchup was more exciting.

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    Yeah honestly the GT badge did irritate me more than anything else.

  • avatar
    MeJ

    This article shows how much bias we have towards certain brands. Bark M is clearly a Ford guy and has owned Mustangs and other Fords. He said he would consider this abomination as worthy of buying. Fine and dandy, to each his own…But.
    In an recent article about the new C8, he absolutely shit on it for the whole article. And that car is absolutely gorgeous. I love Corvettes, the way he love Mustangs (which I can’t stand. My first ever car was a Mustang and it was such a POS that I have never bought another Ford in 33 years because of it.)
    Again brand loyalty (I owned 2 Corvettes and loved them both and will have a 3rd next spring).
    And last…
    “the most prominent model name in the history of American automotive manufacturing”.
    Well, I’m sure you my take on THAT quote.

    ;)

  • avatar
    Menar Fromarz

    I still think it may be on my radar in 3 years as lease returns start flowing, but it nags me in the back of my head that somehow this marketing effort hoo ha is the problem that Ford has, and has had for many, many years.
    A whole lot of hype, and somewhat disappointing execution.
    Marketing types would say that this is the type of buzz needed to cut through the clutter of a saturated market, although I think thats more indicative of the marketing industry needing to shout out its relevance to maintain its high dollar accounts.
    I personally would rather a product be so good that its need for marketing is irrelevant, nay counterproductive. My BIL bought a Model 3 without ever sitting in one, driving one or anything outside the Tesla website. And LOVES it. and would buy another or any Tesla product. And I don’t recall any Tesla advertising other than the usual Tesla launches/circus that has been part of that brand since I can remember.
    I further would rather see the dollars going into the whole “marketing campaigns” ( which cant be cheap) put into a better product.
    Although that SAF won’t happen!

  • avatar
    vvk

    Once you go electric, you can never go back to ICE.

    • 0 avatar
      ToddAtlasF1

      So they’re like any form of welfare then.

    • 0 avatar
      Lie2me

      Until you run out of electric juice a 100 miles from East Jesus and the nearest plug-in

    • 0 avatar
      duncanator

      I must be the exception because I currently drive a Bolt EV and even though I have a charger installed in my garage, I’m going back to gas once my lease is up. Sitting in a parking lot, charging for 30-60 minutes at a dc fast charger for a 100 miles of range just blows. Nope, not for me. it would help if there’s something to do while charging, but my Northern CA charging locations stink. I’ll take my ICE back, thank you.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        I feel like we should put you in the Witness Protection Program for your daring to speak the truth.

      • 0 avatar
        gearhead77

        This is what keeps me from truly considering a fully electric. My usual commute is sufficient for electric ,30 miles one way, 50/50 city/highway and leave the car for a few days.

        But, on a whim my commute can change to driving 240 miles one way, which is the edge of the range for most fully electric vehicles. And along the way, there is no infrastructure to recharge nor at the destination, which is Dulles airport. If there is, it’s definitely not in the extended or even short term garages.

        Obviously I could rent a car to make that journey, but I shouldn’t have to. My Golf can go all the way to DC and halfway back before needing fuel. And it’s not a TDI.

        • 0 avatar
          mt_turk30

          What you typed is just false. There are 6 charging stations around Dulles Airport. If you don’t like waiting at one, fine, but don’t use false information that you can’t charge your vehicle at the airport as a reason to get rid of it.

  • avatar
    TheDutchGun

    I agree with this take. Ford accomplished precisely what they set out to do, and no other model name would have generated the same results.

  • avatar
    jamespdx

    I wonder if some people were as excited about a 4dr Thunderbird “that actually fits their needs. Four doors!”??? Oh wait . . . we have production numbers on the aforementioned Thunderbirds . . . .

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    “How many NEW 1966 Ramblers do you see on dealer lots for sale?”

    Oh no say it ain’t true. All this time I was hoping for a new unsold Rambler American two door with 3 on the tree, no air, and no radio. Please don’t tell me this is true.

  • avatar
    Greg Hamilton

    Chrysler’s electric should obviously be called–wait for it–the Dodge Charger!

    Thank you very much. You’ve been a wonderful audience.

  • avatar
    Snooder

    With you here.

    At first i was pissed that Ford is barking up the wrong tree by associating a very specific brand with something that is entirely unrelated. It felt lazy and unearned.

    But now I’ve come around. They get the initial buzz and publicity, then a few years in, once everyone gets used to calling it a Mach-E, they drop the Mustang bit and start building out the Mach-E brand as its own thing.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    In a few years, the Mach-E will blend right into the landscape, and all the bluster will have been for nothing.

    The only way this car will stand out is if Ford doesn’t move a lot of them.

  • avatar
    IBx1

    Why not the Ford Galaxie?

  • avatar
    slavuta

    ” Y’all went apeshit, just like Ford wanted you to ”

    Not me. Sorry. I went bananas only when they said about building it in China

  • avatar
    Snooder

    Interesting article from Motor Trend.

    https://www.motortrend.com/news/2021-ford-mustang-mach-e-electric-suv-became-mustang

    Apparently a major reason for the naming wasn’t customers, but the knowledge that calling it a Mustang would make it sexy enough to force the executives to give it some real effort instead of just crapping out another “Compliance Vehicle”.

  • avatar
    prabal34

    I am just glad they’re giving Tesla some competition. The mass market EV performance wars have just begun!

  • avatar
    Master Baiter

    American car companies have destroyed most of their brands and sub-brands by associating them with crappy products. Mustang is one of the few remaining sub-brands with a positive perception.

    Cadillac will probably call their next EV the E-Scalade.

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    “They’re gonna sell all they can make.”

    Like the Volt? Bolt? Leaf?

    Tesla is the only real player in this space and somehow I foresee the Tesla people looking their noses down at anything but. Similar to how the Apple people act now. Ford and their ilk better hope they can become the “Android” of the duopoly.

  • avatar
    Dave M.

    Great read. I think naming it as part of the Mustang family was brilliant, and why not? It’s a performance vehicle.

  • avatar
    JaySeis

    Just look at Harley Davidson loyalty to short swinging quickly aging fat dentists..that’s not working. Ford had to make a smart brand move. When we picked up our Adrenalin nearly 10 years ago I told my wife…probably last gas engine vehicle I drive. She sees the Mach-E and asks me when it’s available. And the clincher? A Ford dealership 20 miles away versus a Tesla 120+ miles away. We’ve fond memories of the ‘07 GT but her bad hip and knee and two surgeries later, she needs a vehicle she can slide into. And the E-Mach is stylish as opposed to Tesla’s rather bland look.

  • avatar
    danio3834

    I can’t wait for the Dodge Viper TA 2.0 BEV minivan and the Corvette E06 CUV.

  • avatar
    Superdessucke

    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.

  • avatar
    gearhead77

    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?

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