Red and Blue: Ford Considers Building Mach-E in China Too

Matt Posky
by Matt Posky
red and blue ford considers building mach e in china too

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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2 of 38 comments
  • Art Vandelay Art Vandelay on Nov 19, 2019

    Chinese cars would likely be for Chinese consumption. I believe this is being built at the Fiesta/Focus plant in Mexico so if Ford is tapping out production there then frankly this thing is a hit on a level nobody saw coming and your ICE car is an endangered species. With respect to Mexico, does Ford have any US plants that don't have product? It was my impression they are building something at all of them. GM had space and still moved the Blazer to Mexico. I don't see that here.

  • Randy in rocklin Randy in rocklin on Nov 19, 2019

    Ford just destroyed the Mustang brand. Electric cars are just a fad. When everyone finds out what the limitations of an electric vehicle are they will not be driving them for very long. I can just imagine what the resale values are for a used electric.

  • FreedMike This article fails to mention that Toyota is also investing heavily in solid state battery tech - which would solve a lot of inherent EV problems - and plans to deploy it soon. course, Toyota being Toyota, it will use the tech in hybrids first, which is smart - that will give them the chance to iron out the wrinkles, so to speak. But having said that, I’m with Toyota here - I’m not sold on an all EV future happening anytime soon. But clearly the market share for these vehicles has nowhere to go but up; how far up depends mainly on charging availability. And whether Toyota’s competitors are all in is debatable. Plenty of bet-hedging is going on among makers in the North American market.
  • Jeff S I am not against EVs but I completely understand Toyota's position. As for Greenpeace putting Toyota at the bottom of their environmental list is more drama. A good hybrid uses less gas, is cleaner than most other ICE, and is more affordable than most EVs. Prius has proven longevity and low maintenance cost. Having had a hybrid Maverick since April and averaging 40 to 50 mpg in city driving it has been smooth driving and very economical. Ford also has very good hybrids and some of the earlier Escapes are still going strong at 300k miles. The only thing I would have liked in my hybrid Maverick would be a plug in but it didn't come with it. If Toyota made a plug in hybrid compact pickup like the Maverick it would sell well. I would consider an EV in the future but price, battery technology, and infrastructure has to advance and improve. I don't buy a vehicle based on the recommendation of Greenpeace, as a status symbol, or peer pressure. I buy a vehicle on what best needs my needs and that I actually like.
  • Mobes Kind of a weird thing that probably only bothers me, but when you see someone driving a car with ball joints clearly about to fail. I really don't want to be around a car with massive negative camber that's not intentional.
  • Jeff S How reliable are Audi? Seems the Mazda, CRV, and Rav4 in the higher trim would not only be a better value but would be more reliable in the long term. Interior wise and the overall package the Mazda would be the best choice.
  • Pickles69 They have a point. All things (or engines/propulsion) to all people. Yet, when the analogy of being, “a department store,” of options is used, I shudder. Department stores are failing faster than any other retail. Just something to chew on.