Mustang Mach-E Update: Ford Execs Trash Talk an Aborted Child

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
mustang mach e update ford execs trash talk an aborted child

While last week’s Internet-breaking debut of the Ford Mustang Mach-E was eventually overshadowed by the glass-shattering introduction of the Tesla Cybertruck, the echoes of that reveal still linger in the air.

A flurry of petitions quickly sprung up, with signees hoping to reverse this apparently abominable decision by Ford brass. Dream on. As a friend is fond of saying, signing a petition has never, ever stopped anything from happening. You’d have the same impact if you just stayed at home and munched celery in the dark.

Perhaps cognizant of the backlash, Ford released a film in which company bigwigs sitting on invisible chairs lob derision at the vehicle the Mach-E replaced.

While we’ve mentioned this mystery vehicle before (in addition to positing why the name was a necessary evil), the film sheds more light on this soul-sucking compliance runabout. In it, Ted Cannis, Ford’s global director of electrification, calls it “a great electric vehicle,” before adding that it lacked emotion.

“It was just a car,” he says of the four-door EV crossover. In the same vein as Ford’s defunct low-range Focus Electric, the vehicle was developed to earn Ford a green star from zero-emission vehicle (ZEV) states.

“The vehicle looked like a science project,” says Jim Farley, head of new businesses, technology and strategy.

“I thought to myself, ‘who’s going to want to buy this car?'” remarks Chris Walter, exterior design manager for the Blue Oval.

Then came new CEO Jim Hackett, the film implies, who walked into the room and started throwing chairs, thus saving the world from an electric CUV with the sex appeal of an assisted living facility. Maybe this explains why the execs are sitting on air.

“Ford stands for much more than just meeting environmental regulations,” Hackett says, as pulsing, anticipatory music builds in the background.

After tearing up the prototype’s plans (how’d it get this far if everyone hated it?), Ford amassed its Team Edison and plunked them a short walk away from Slows BBQ. The team was tasked with creating a myriad of designs and prototypes, with the explicit mandate of taking risks.

According to Tau Thai-Tang, Ford’s chief development officer, it was Farley who came up with the idea of making the vehicle a Mustang. Well, a Mustang in name and design, anyways. From that point forward, design teams from across the globe were asked to supplement Team Edison’s design ideas with their own.

To their credit, the execs discuss their misgivings and confusion about the vehicle and its place in the brand’s lineup. Focus groups apparently had reservations, too. And yet the journey continued, as the company knew it needed to do something big to get the vehicle noticed… and purchased. This, despite the protests of Chairman Bill Ford Jr., who was apparently “adamant” that the vehicle not bear the Mustang name.

“When I saw that it was going to be an SUV, I really dug my heels in,” Ford says.

“Part of the company’s on trial here,” claims Hacket, “because that brand is so precious, it means so much to everyone, and it has a very high standard of performance.”

While the Mach-E’s appearance was greeted as proof of the impending death of the Mustang coupe, the automaker claims that isn’t the case. “We’re not,” says Mark Kaufman, global director of market distribution. “The coupe’s there. This is a new horse in the stable.”

You can forgive those who don’t place much weight in Kaufman’s promise. A trend of falling passenger car sales hasn’t left the Mustang coupe untouched; meanwhile, car nameplates are disappearing faster than virginity at a campus keg party. The public’s purchasing decisions will dictate how long the “real” Mustang remains in the brand’s lineup.

[Image: Ford]

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3 of 52 comments
  • MoparDave MoparDave on Nov 26, 2019

    Seems like the modern day equivalent of the 1977 Mercury Cougar Villager wagon, badging-wise.....

    • ToolGuy ToolGuy on Nov 26, 2019

      Nice one. Various names which have been given to the Mickey Mouse place in France: - Euro Disney Resort/Euro Disneyland - Euro Disneyland Paris - Disneyland Paris - Disneyland Resort Paris/Disneyland Park - Disneyland Paris/Disneyland Park

  • PandaBear PandaBear on Nov 27, 2019

    I don't like the grill, it looks like this car has a double chin or some chick with fake boobs. Then again I think Model X grill looks ugly as well.

  • Kat Laneaux What's the benefits of this as opposed to the Ford or Nissan. Will the mileage be better than the 19 city, 24 hwy? Will it cost less than the average of $60,000? Will it be a hybrid?
  • Johnster Minor quibble. The down-sized full-sized 1980-only Continental (which was available with Town Car and Town Coupe trims) gave up its name in 1981 and became the Town Car. The name "Town Coupe" was never used after the 1980 model year. The 1981 Lincoln Town Car was available with a 2-door body style, but the 2-door Lincoln Town Car was discontinued and not offered for the 1982 model year and never returned to the Lincoln lineup.
  • Zipper69 Some discreet dwebadging and this will pass for a $95k Lucid Air...
  • Zipper69 Does it REALLY have to be a four door?Surely a truly compact vehicle could stick with the half-door access with jump seats for short term passengers.
  • ToolGuy See kids, you can keep your old car in good condition.