By on November 18, 2019

Ford CEO Jim Hackett reportedly confirmed that the new Mustang Mach-E we’ve been talking about all day may need to be manufactured in China. Since this is our third article on the vehicle, we’re immensely sorry and promise to keep this relatively short.

On Monday, Bloomberg quoted Hackett as saying the Mach-E will have to figure out a way around the trade war between the United States and China. “We need to determine whether the tariffs are settled. And it would be great [if they were],” Hackett said following the EV’s launch in Los Angeles. “We have a plan to build there if we have to.”

While yours truly absolutely despises the Mock-E for usurping the lineage of Ford’s most-famous bloodline, he can also acknowledge the models’s obvious strengths. It’s the physical manifestation of every trend the industry has been advancing over the last few years. Huge central screen? Check. Perpetually connected to the internet? Check. Large SUV that’s also battery powered? Check. Claiming that’s somehow energy efficient? Check. Unnecessarily tying a new model to some aspect of the manufacturers history? Sigh, check.

Most folks are letting wealthier people take the first leap with these types of vehicles — curious to see if trends dissipate and give way to something more interesting than a cellphone on wheels. North American tastes are fickle, but usually boil down to a good bargain. We want more of everything for less green. However, every region has its own unique tastes and the People’s Republic seems to be the most hungry for tech. They’re also unlikely to care one whit about the model’s biggest offense.

In the United States, Mustangs are considered an official member of many households (sometimes for generations). Modifying it so … aggressively … is tantamount to surgically attaching more legs to the family dog. Many won’t accept it, even if you actually end up building a better pooch/car in the end. China has no such ties to the model, and I think their take on dogs is currently evolving and pretty complex. But the point is, they’re unlikely to have weird feelings about the Mach-E and will be more inclined to be interested in what it offers.

From Bloomberg:

In an earlier interview with Bloomberg TV, Hackett said he believed there would be good demand for the car in China. “I’m smiling because China has got a mandate for electrification, so the Mach-E has a role in that,” he said.

Ford plans to import the Mustang Mach-E to China but hasn’t indicated when sales in the world’s biggest EV market will begin.

While Ford is building the Mach-E in Mexico, Hackett said the company employs more workers in the U.S. than its competitors. President Donald Trump, who has criticized American firms for manufacturing overseas, said in August that U.S. companies should look for alternatives to China. But many continue to expand operations there, including Tesla Inc., which has built a Gigafactory on the outskirts of Shanghai in a matter of months.

Truth be told, Ford’s warping of its longstanding electric crossover project into the next Mustang II was probably a wise move. Love or hate it, the Mach-E will be hotly debated and given additional attention for months — whereas a generic-looking EV probably would have stayed mostly beneath the public’s radar and been forgotten overnight.

U.S. and Europe are supposed to see the Mach-E drop next fall, but China has remained a question mark. Hackett told Bloomberg he wants to be sure everything goes flawlessly in Western markets before tackling China. The original article on Ford’s CEO has vanished (presumably temporarily) but echoes of it persist elsewhere online. Slightly mysterious!

Our premonition? Blue Oval will probably need to give this monstrosity its own assembly line in Asia unless the trade war magically ends within the next twelve months.

[Image: Ford Motor Co.]

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