By on November 18, 2019

ford

Apologies for another Ford Mustang Mach-E post. Clearly, Dearborn got its wish when it set out to get people talking.

While the brand’s new Mustang-inspired (and now Mustang-badged) crossover has generated both acrimony and praise, often split along generational and ideological lines, the story of what could have been is now leaking out. There’s a possibility of another Mustang family member, too, but let’s stick with the Mach-E’s genesis for a bit.

It would seem, based on conversations with Ford execs, that the vehicle that became the Mach-E was originally planned as something so mind-numbingly boring, Ford’s incoming CEO smelled a dud. As reported by Motor1 and Autocar, Jim Hackett was the man behind the switch.

Planning was already well underway two years ago, but Hackett’s arrival at the Glass House put designers back to work crafting something that was more than just a “compliance car.” As the automaker told Motor1, the team was told to play to the brand’s strengths and rid the vehicle of its overpoweringly bland eco-snobbery.

The Mustang muse stepped into the room, dropped its robe, and the team went to town.

“This started as another project in around 2014, and about two years ago it switched to this,” Ford of Europe design boss Murat Gueler told Autocar. “The design had a big influence: the whole structure changed, the technology inside changed. We rebooted the whole programme. The designers came up with this concept and everyone went ‘oh, this is good.'”

If the Mach-E’s design leaves you feeling cold, just imagine what the original plan would have looked like. Actually, you don’t have to ⁠— Motor1 shared a sketch showing how the design evolved. That earlier vehicle? Terrible. “Compliance car” is right.

As for where Ford goes from here, that’s an open question. While Gueler said, “We’ve talked about building a family,” he didn’t specifically confirm any plan to release other EVs under the Mustang name.

“We don’t want to take a Russian doll approach, where you can’t tell them apart other than the size of the car, but we want a family feel where a Ford EV starts to build off this concept,” he said. “But we’d never do a smaller version of this — if we did a smaller vehicle it would have different proportions.”

[Image: Ford]

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68 Comments on “Hating on the Mach-E? It Could Have Been Far Worse...”


  • avatar
    dividebytube

    WW2: It could have been far worse! No cake.

    It’s really not a bad looking vehicle – for a CUV – but it doesn’t win any beauty awards. The rear end looks particularly gawky. I’m glad the GT version has a lot of performance but I’m still not interested it – if I could even afford one!

    The design has polarized the Cyclone V6 Mustang group I’m in. The main sticking point for the haters is the CUV-ness of something with the Mustang name.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      Some of us are drinking the hateorade for this on general principle.

      -Limited cargo capacity due to sloping roofline even though the point of these stupid things is cargo capacity. Check.

      -Large sloping headlights with tail lights as a single piece which more than likely cannot be serviced but instead replaced. Check.

      -Front bumper, what’s that? Check.

      -No grille but the control of the front clip is shaped for a separate grille while Tesla S’s front clip is just a nose cone with a slight “grille” shaped in plastic.

      -Giant Ipad in center console made of the finest Chineseium. Check.

      -Digital dashes of the 80s. Check.

      -The ultra successful Honda Crosstour’s rear cargo bay setup. Check.

      Its almost as if only the bad trends get copied and the good trends are binned. Sometimes I feel crazy pills are being described to industry designers of late.

      • 0 avatar
        slavuta

        Wheels too big, too skinny – check.

        “-Limited cargo capacity due to sloping roofline even though the point of these stupid things is cargo capacity.”

        Now, this is I am not sure. Isn’t it “Mustang” after all?

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          The point of CUV is height and cargo, fastbacking it makes it just as useless as the ATS’ rear seats.

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            The point of CUV is that people now think low ride height means cheap.

          • 0 avatar
            conundrum

            “The point of CUV is that people now think low ride height means cheap.”

            Well, this Mach-E with a whopping 5.1 inches of ground clearance makes a Mazda CX-3 with 6.1 inches seem like a tall-strider.

            So will the public embrace this Mach-E’s “cheap” low stance and the ability to clear minor tussocks of grass and ford shallow puddles as a crossover? Or as Jim Hackett’s brainwave?

            We’ll see. My new Mazda6 sedan has 6 1/2 inches of ground clearance, for goodness sake, and does well on old rutted driveways, was kind of impressed actually, but nobody calls it a crossover. Thank God. The devil of conformity is drifting over the automotive world, and I feel no compunction to follow it.

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            It’s not about ground clearance, it’s about seating position, and this car has the requisite higher seating position. Dimensions are pretty close to the new Escape; this is just a bit longer.

            The reason for the low ground clearance is that this has batteries where you’d find air in an Escape or your Mazda6.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            They could have done that with modifications to the current platform.

          • 0 avatar
            JimZ

            “The reason for the low ground clearance is that this has batteries where you’d find air in an Escape or your Mazda6.”

            yep. keep in mind the “floor” is now about 6 inches thick.

      • 0 avatar
        Dan

        “As the automaker told Motor1, the team was told to play to the brand’s strengths and rid the vehicle of its overpoweringly bland eco-snobbery.”

        This absolutely nails it, for all of the things that you can dislike in detail – and I agree with your list and could add plenty more – the big picture is that someone finally made a volume electric that looks (mostly) like a real car and not a Warren sticker.

        I don’t want one but I wouldn’t hate myself for driving one and that’s more than I can say for a butt plug looking Tesla.

      • 0 avatar
        Ryoku75

        Let me add one more thing to your list:

        -Redundancy, Ford has…4 trendy SUV/CUV things? The upcoming Bronco, and their big refrigerators. They dont need another SUV thats ultimately worse than their previous models.

      • 0 avatar
        Greg Hamilton

        No rear bumper to speak of either. It looks like you would bump right into the trunk lid.

      • 0 avatar
        jalop1991

        “Sometimes I feel crazy pills are being described to industry designers of late.”

        Apple’s laptop keyboards of the last 4 years.

        So, yeah.

        (and Apple fanbois, don’t get started with me. I have 31 years of history with them to go back to, and most of you aren’t even 31 years old yet.)

  • avatar
    jack4x

    I can’t be the only one who thinks maybe the original concept would have been the way to go, right?

    Tesla’s acceleration figures are what they are, but I don’t think that’s why they are cool or popular. I still feel like the people who would buy something called “Mustang” for performance, and the people who are interested in an electric car are not the same.

    • 0 avatar
      Scoutdude

      The original concept was most likely a sedan and you aren’t getting 1/2 of the country to even consider a sedan any more. Those that do buy sedans are increasingly fleets and those looking for a low price. So yeah this was a smart move, even if I would have preferred they didn’t use the Mustang name.

      It is something that my wife had some interest in when showing her some of the video reveal. The one problem is the Grabber Blue is only available on the launch model at this point. I’m hessitant to get one of the first off the line and it being a limited edition model means the wife says she wouldn’t want to drive it for fear of diminishing its collector value.

      • 0 avatar
        jack4x

        Did you look at the link?

        The original concept drawing was a CUV with FWD proportions. It was basically what the Bolt should have been, presumably with longer range and cleaner styling.

  • avatar
    Jon

    Can we talk about something more interesting? Like… how fast ketchup comes out of the bottle… or something.

    • 0 avatar
      Cactuar

      Yes let’s talk about something interesting for a change.

      See I used to be a Heinz man for all my life. My parents were Heinz fans and that’s what we ate with French fries. Always. It was a family tradition.

      But recently we switched to French’s ketchup. Why? They use Canadian tomatoes! The ketchup tastes great and has a slightly more vinegary taste which I like. Heinz makes no mention of where the tomatoes are sourced, so they’re probably imported. I prefer to encourage the local economy, so from now on, we are only buying French’s ketchup.

      It’s the same reason why I bought Canadian winter boots yesterday. Everything else was made in China (even the “Sorel” brand which ironically is named after a Quebec city). We always pick the Canadian or American option if there is one and if the price is not outrageous.

      • 0 avatar
        Cactuar

        I am sure you have changed many more habits, other than the switch from ketchup to mustard. I’d say one or more changes had more impact on your health than a switch in condiment ;)

        Congrats on the improved health btw! You can never lose by eating less and choosing healthier food.

      • 0 avatar

        Heinz is a chemical soup. I do not trust big corporations. So I, actually my wife buys only organic ketchup from local small company I never heard about before. And rest of staff too – local, independent, made from real stuff.

        And yes, French stuff usually is the best. They have a good taste.

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      Squeeze bottle solves that issue!

  • avatar
    eggsalad

    Honestly, if you stripped off the badges, I couldn’t tell you it wasn’t a Tesla.

  • avatar
    SixspeedSi

    I starting to agree with Hackett on this one. I have no doubt that Ford was initially designing a blob looking EV like the Chevy Volt or Prius. It would’ve flopped just like GM’s.

    This is different. It mostly looks good, the specs are decent. They knew people were going to hate the name at first but as with most new things, the desire to have this shiny new piece of tech will outway the negativity of the name. It’s a risk but I think it could be worth it.

    Would I fully name it a Mustang? Probably not, but I’m starting to get why they chose to.

    • 0 avatar
      Dave M.

      As a lifetime Mustang fan, I’m excited with them applying the name to a dynamic new performance platform and technology. My only disappointments with the Mach-E is the sloped rear roof and they could have gone a little more traditional on the dashboard. The huge iPad is off-putting.

  • avatar
    ToolGuy

    Automotive industry insight gleaned: It takes two years to put those additional creases into the side of a vehicle.

  • avatar
    dukeisduke

    I refuse to call it a “Mustang”, but yeah, it’s not bad. I think they’re going to have to improve the range on the cheaper models, though.

  • avatar
    MrIcky

    No hate from me, just no love either. If Mustang, then fast… unless they’re trying to remember the humble 1st year origins of the Mustang. It looks nice. Sounds like the price is targeted to be reasonable for what it is. Trying to hard to channel the Tesla interior. It’s ok. If I were looking for an electric car AND I felt Ford wasn’t going to ditch it in a couple years because the sales are merely ok, then I’d be interested in this.

  • avatar
    dukeisduke

    Motor1 notes it has a “water-proof, drainable frunk”. So could you fill the thing with ice and drinks directly and use it as a big cooler, instead of setting a cooler in it like one of the photos posted here in an earlier article?

  • avatar
    indi500fan

    Where is Ford on the US gov tax credits? Will these get the full 7500 bucks for a while?

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    I think moving this car upmarket and giving it some performance cred was the right call – thanks to Tesla, EVs “speak” to more affluent buyers. I think cheaper EVs are a far tougher sell due to a number of factors.

    The only thing I really disagree with here was making it a “Mustang” – not because I’m buying into the anti-Mustang-EV haterade (they once made a Pinto Mustang, guys…lighten up).

    It simply would have made more sense as a Lincoln.

  • avatar
    ToolGuy

    Why you aren’t an automotive designer: Murat Gueler knows *exactly* where his design falls in the finely-calibrated gradations of the “Russian doll” vs. “family feel” spectrum. Do you know where your vehicle falls on the finely-calibrated gradations of the “Russian doll” vs. “family feel” spectrum? No? This is one reason you aren’t him.

    Now buy what we build. “These are not the product objections you are looking for.”

  • avatar
    yankinwaoz

    I am going on record as saying that it is a handsome car and very nice looking. I am impressed.

    I can’t wait to see one on the road for real.

  • avatar
    dal20402

    I like the car and I think it shows Ford is thinking in the right direction.

    I don’t love the use of the Mustang badge, but I can see the logic and I’ll get over it as long as there is a proper 2-door Mustang as well. (And I wouldn’t be offended in the least by an electric version of the proper Mustang.)

    But I don’t understand the range numbers. They seem very low given the battery size, the car size, and the apparent aero slipperiness of the car. Ford needs to work on efficiency a bit. It’s not that this range is too short, but if they were as efficient as GM or Tesla they could eke the same range out of fewer, cheaper, and lighter battery cells.

    (My previous C-Max PHEV also was pretty bad with miles per kWh, so I think this may be a systematic issue for Ford.)

    • 0 avatar
      JimZ

      “But I don’t understand the range numbers. They seem very low given the battery size, the car size, and the apparent aero slipperiness of the car.”

      might be sandbagging a bit. the stated ranges are still disclaimed as “targeted.”

      • 0 avatar
        SPPPP

        Well, the sleek looks conceal the fact that some have estimated its weight at over 5,000 pounds. Moving that much mass consumes a lot of energy.

        • 0 avatar
          dal20402

          Weight is not likely to be all that different from Teslas that get a good deal more range out of the same usable kWh.

          Similarly, my C-Max was within 150 lbs of my current Bolt in curb weight, but typically got around 3 mi/kWh with no heat on, where the Bolt can often break 4.

          • 0 avatar
            Scoutdude

            With no heat my Wife’s C-Max will do about 3.6 mi/kWh

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            I don’t think I ever got anything close to 3.6 mi/kWh during my entire 3-year lease term. That would imply ~29 miles on electric power alone and the most I ever saw was 24.

  • avatar
    Domestic Hearse

    Imagine if Chevy spun Corvette off as its own brand. You’d have what we now consider to be the standard Corvette (2 seat sports car). You may have a 4-seat Corvette (Panamera competitor). And maybe a go-fast CUV Corvette (Cayenne). And last but not least, e-versions within the Corvette brand.

    Now imagine if Ford spins off Mustang as its own brand. Pony car/sports car with ICE engine, check. Performance e-CUV, check. Four-door performance sedan in both ICE and e versions, check.

    It’s product extension of a successful brand’s sub-brand, which is more expensive, and promises different benefits — and perception — of both the full brand and what was once a single model. In essence, capitalizing on the Mustang’s essence.

    It’s not at all a bad idea, it just currently challenges everyone’s established definitions.

    • 0 avatar
      ToolGuy

      Conventional wisdom used to say that brand extensions were a terrible idea… which is why much of what you see now – with soft drinks, chips and candy, for example – are brand extensions. (Take a look at the vending machines.)

  • avatar
    Garrett

    Just wait for the Shelby Cobra version, which will add bigger wheels and some stickers.

  • avatar
    DeadWeight

    YAAAAAAAAAAAAAWNNNNN

  • avatar
    TheDutchGun

    They’ll sell and they have people talking, whether it be negative or positive. Job done, I’d say.

  • avatar
    Kyree S. Williams

    I like it. Do I regard it as a Mustang? No, not really. But it sounds promising in its own right. I’d even consider buying one–although (given Ford’s historic production issues with brand-new, groundbreaking vehicles) it’d be some years into the model run.

    I’d be interested in the RWD model with 300 miles of range.

  • avatar
    Oberkanone

    It could have been worse said the proctologist. P
    Perhaps Jim Hackett believes two hands are better than one.

  • avatar
    Superdessucke

    I just like saying Machie, as in a Tuna Maki, that’s how I’ve been pronouncing it to myself!

    Personally, I see it as no more/less an affront than bolting the ST badge on a giant Explorer and Edge. Ford has made its priorities clear. As I said in another thread, I think this is short sighted and will bite them later, but that’s what they’re doing. So this should be no surprise.

  • avatar
    AKHusky

    Overall I really like the Mach E and think is looks better than the other EVs out therebut there are two problems. It should not be called a Mustang. The other is the one that could keep me from buying one, the stupid giant Ipad. I live in a place where an all-wheel drive EV makes a lot of sense, all hydropower and not connected to the continental road system, but man I hate the touchscreen.

  • avatar

    I still think they should have given it more headroom for the rear and called it a Lincoln Cougar. (If they were afraid of too much snickering,call it a Falcon :)

  • avatar
    Whatnext

    Whatever the hell this monstrosity is, it is no Mustang.

  • avatar
    Master Baiter

    Meh. This isn’t on my radar.

    I’m sure Ford will figure out a way to make a maintenance-free car unreliable.

  • avatar
    jkross22

    I couldn’t figure out what this Machiato looked like until just now….. Remember the Acura ZDX and Honda Crosstour? This design looks like a cleaner evolution of that idea with an inch or two more ground clearance.

  • avatar

    It seems like Ford just created the new brand. Like Pontiac – sporty brand that will make more models than just coupe and midsize CUV. Is there even Ford logo anywhere on this car?

  • avatar
    JaySeis

    I like it. The S.O. loves it. And Ford made the correct call. We’re in a new age and time to get with the program. And Teslas will be wearing out with no dealers in any number. And they are beginning to look slightly dated so to speak.

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