By on November 19, 2019

Forgive us for this post, one which yet again delves into a vehicle that, for good or bad, came in like the proverbial wrecking ball. Busted up the joint. People are abuzz, and so is Adam, whose opinions on the Ford Mustang Mach-E flowed like water through a breached dam on Monday.

Again and again (and not just from Adam) a hypothetical scenario reared its head — what if the Mustang Mach-E emerged from behind the curtain wearing another badge?

There’s only one other badge it could wear, as this isn’t an anything-goes exercise. It’s Lincoln. Keep the overall design almost entirely the same, obviously minus the ‘Stang-derived taillights and embryonic grille, throw on a Lincoln badge, and call the thing the Mark E.

Inquiring minds asked for an image, and Twitter provided:

Compelling? Some thought so. Now, this ‘solution’ is only really a solution for those offended by the creation of a “Mustang family” in the first place — a family of which an electric, four-door crossover is now a member. Black sheep or red-headed stepchild, many would say.

Listen, as we’ve stated before, the transformation of a boring “compliance” EV of unflattering proportions into a sport-oriented, musclebound electric that kicks eco-justice messaging to the background is not a bad thing. If Ford wanted to make money off the thing, and that is its intent, the makeover was necessary. “I want to buy this” is a better sales motivator than “I should probably be buying this.”

And yet even shaplier curves and added grunt wasn’t seen as a sure-fire remedy. We’re talking EVs here; Ford doesn’t have the dedicated — and quite rabid — fan base Tesla enjoys. Ford can’t fall back on its “disruptor/tech adopter” status among those who line up outside the Apple store for their biannual phone purchase. And so the Mustang name was sacrificed, many would claim, in order to give the upcoming model a much-needed PR and mojo boost. Hell, we wouldn’t be talking about it if the crossover emerged under the name “EcoSport-E.” Lampooning it, perhaps…

While accepting that Ford’s EV clearly needed the combined might of all the King’s horses and all the King’s men to stand a chance of making it, the branding is still an acrimonious thing. Slap on a Lincoln badge, and the problem almost entirely disappears. While the Lincoln Mark series, minus the MK. VI, was strictly a coupe affair, the blowback wouldn’t have been nearly as immediate and venomous had Ford introduced a Lincoln Mark E Sunday night.

And it may have hit the market with a thud, regardless of its attributes (time will tell how the Mach-E fares on that score). After all, to get an invite to the big dance, first you have to get noticed.

So, with this in mind, do you think Ford would have been better off launching this crossover as a Lincoln? Okay, now throw dollars and cents into the equation. Do you still feel the same way?

[Image: Ford]

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57 Comments on “QOTD: You Knew This Was Coming…...”


  • avatar
    Art Vandelay

    No and no. Ford wanted to show this as an all in effort…not a compliance car meant to Garner CAFE credits so they can sell more trucks (that is how EV buyers tend to look upon these efforts from the big 3.

    Furthermore Mustang has always been a model targeted to younger people. The last few years have seen that slipping a bit. This refocuses that by offering things they value and see as cool (yes, you hate Crossovers and Electrics…they don’t)

    Lastly, Lincoln is on the right track, but they aren’t there yet. Ford wants to get as many of these on the road as possible to establish themselves as a real player in the EV market. Putting the blue oval on it accomplishes that

    Hopefully these move well and we then get the model S competitor Lincoln deserves. Something with 4 doors, the rear 2 being rear hinged, a big sedan body and Continental badges. Mark E works as well.

    • 0 avatar
      Lie2me

      Well said, Art. Ford has spent the last several years trying to separate Lincolns and Fords from each other and has succeeded in re-establishing Lincoln as a separate entity. The last thing they need to do is slap a Lincoln badge on this EV and call it a day. If the Mach E succeeds they can look into creating a separate luxury EV as a Lincoln, but let’s see how the Mach E does first

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      I’m gonna disagree here – not because I’m somehow triggered over this car being called “Mustang,” but because at the moment, the market for these is with upscale buyers – people who shop Mercedes/BMW/Audi/Lexus. Tesla proves it. “Mustang” doesn’t have much cred with these buyers, and Mustang buyers aren’t going to find much cred in an EV Mustang.

      This should have been a Lincoln, and I think you can bet the house on a Lincoln version being put in the mix, and soon.

      • 0 avatar
        Art Vandelay

        I think the 3 moves more than all of the “luxury” offerings combined. This, the Y and the 3 are in a different market from the S, X, and BMW/Audi/Everyone else offerings in that class.

        They also exist separate of the Leaf/Bolt/Hyundai stuff. The people I see in Model 3’s that I know are not customers of the higher end stuff. In fact one of them sold his Mustang to buy a dual motor 3.

    • 0 avatar
      grimm01

      Good comments, and I also want to highlight that it seems that Ford is trying to create a sub-brand around Mustang. I have looked at a lot of Mustang-E pics and I don’t think I have seen a single blue oval badge on the thing. Every logo is a Mustang logo.

      Mustang is probably their strongest brand aside from F-150. If they are trying to reposition themselves with exciting, forward looking products, Mustang is as strong as it gets. There is no way, Continental, Lincoln or any other resurrected product name would have gotten them the air-time and level of forum discussions as blowing out the Mustang product portfolio.

      • 0 avatar
        Art Vandelay

        Ford = Pickups/commercial vehicles
        Mustang = Cars/care like crossovers
        Bronco = more “jeep like” crossovers/SUV’s
        Lincoln = Luxury EV/Hybrids

        • 0 avatar
          Snooder

          Holy…

          If this is the plan and when Ford said “we aren’t selling any sedans in the US”, they really meant “cause we are moving all our cars to the new Mustang Brand” I’d have to admire the genius.

  • avatar

    I think Art’s comment is compelling. I was wondering about saddling the vehicle with a Mercury-esque allusion. That might avoid the Lincoln issues, but avoid the Mustang association. Dunno. I thought Corey’s thoughts on this vehicle were well considered. For me, the name Mustang doesn’t conjure a vehicle that looks like this one. I’m also of the generation that saw the Mustang’s beginnings so it’s more ingrained in my thoughts as it was originally intended. It will be interesting to see how the vehicle fairs in the marketplace. Mustang or not, I hope it fairs well if for no other reason than to provide a meaningful competitor to Tesla. I like choice and believe competition is a good thing. With healthy competition everyone gains a better end product theoretically.

  • avatar
    Thomas Kreutzer

    I think the Lincoln brand doesn’t appeal to enough people. No value shoppers there. This needed to be a Ford but I think they should have called this thing the Thunderbird. The new E-Bird.

    I can hear the bad retro 1960s ad copy now – “Lighting strikes and brings forth the Thunder! The all new, all electric, Thunderbird!”

    • 0 avatar
      Lie2me

      I agree with the name Thunderbird instead of Mustang, a classic, somewhat respectable Ford name and of course the play on words, electricity> lightning> Thunder-bird

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      The problem with “Thunderbird” is that the nameplate used up all its’ credibility long ago, and the last one was a total bomb. I still think this would have been better as a Lincoln, but if the choice is between “Mustang” and “Thunderbird,” I choose the former.

      • 0 avatar
        ToddAtlasF1

        Why is it Ford’s goal to consume all the credibility of its existing nameplates? The Thunderbird wasn’t continued in 1998 because the market for PLCs was dead and the Thunderbird had been one for forty years. They brought the name back for a retro-roadster inspired by the T-birds of ’55-’57 on the awful DEW98 platform. It didn’t work because Ford and because the Thunderbird name wasn’t associated with two-seat roadsters after four decades of four seaters.

        The most successful new vehicles of Ford’s recent history have been the Explorer and the Escape. Now they think they need to transition the Mustang? Indefensible.

        • 0 avatar
          Art Vandelay

          @Todd…So the Thunderbird absolutely had a follow on to the 83-88 “Aerobirds” It had a long run from 89-97 on the MN-12 chassis that also underpiined the Cougar and Lincoln Mark VIII. Ford spent a ton on that platform and frankly they were all over the place back in the day…especially early in the run as the refresh cheapened the interior (PLC’s were truly on their last legs by 1995). It was after that car had been gone a few years that we got the “retrobird”

          • 0 avatar
            ToddAtlasF1

            Did I write anything counter to what you wrote?

          • 0 avatar
            Art Vandelay

            Yes, you said the T-Bird wasn’t continued in 1988 and that Ford thought the PLC was dead, when in fact in 1989 they gave it a dedicated chassis that was much more refined and expensive than the Fox Body based Birds of 1980-1988. The MN12 cars had IRS, an optional supercharged motor, and a level of refinement the Fox cars couldn’t match (and the 83-88’s are my favorite Birds out of all of them). They hadn’t given up on the PLC…they doubled down.

          • 0 avatar
            Art Vandelay

            Ah…I can’t read. You said 98. Read it as 88…my bad.

          • 0 avatar
            ToddAtlasF1

            I was wondering why you were agreeing so vociferously.

      • 0 avatar
        ttacgreg

        Being as electric motors are silent, maybe Humbird would work as a name . . . maybe not.

        And a bit off topic, but that picture brings to mind, that with silent and perfectly smooth electric motors that have no need for a grille for cooling, I anticipate fake grilles just for brand differentiation and who knows, synthetic motor sounds and some software programmed, simulated micro hesitations in the power output for the feeling of shifting gears?

    • 0 avatar
      Lokki

      Add me to the list of those who would have preferred ‘Thunderbird’ to Mustang. Since we’re apparently all okay with stealing references to other models, I would have made it a “Thunderbird Lightning”

      I sort of have the feeling that Ford used the name “Mustang” because it’s currently the only name they have (besides F150) that has any public recognition value. You know, like how every Oldsmobile became a Cutlass for a while.

      • 0 avatar
        Art Vandelay

        I would have been on board with Thunderbolt given Ford’s history with that name, especially had they done some sort of insane Drag mode option.

        Still, I think Mustang was the only way to go here.

        • 0 avatar
          ToddAtlasF1

          https://www.conceptcarz.com/vehicle/z1900/Chrysler-Thunderbolt.aspx

          I forgot about the Ford Thunderbolt super stock cars. I only remembered the old Peugeot-Fiat Thunderbolt pre-war concept cars.

    • 0 avatar
      Ryoku75

      Thunderbird, Thunderbolt, either name would have been pretty cool and fitting for the electric drivetrain.

  • avatar
    TheDutchGun

    Mustang was the only way to do it to get people talking about it and they succeeded on that front.

    Anything else would not have generated the same buzz.

    • 0 avatar
      Lie2me

      They’re talking about the name more then the car or is this the old any publicity is better then no publicity game?

      • 0 avatar
        TheDutchGun

        I’m saying assigning any other name to it would’ve resulted in a much more subdued response.

        Their aim here was to be provocative and they succeeded.

        I bet half the people complaining have never owned a mustang in their life and aren’t lining up to buy one in the first place.

        I don’t care one way or the other, I’m not in the market for an EV and likely won’t be until it’s forced upon me.

        Based on the performance data, this out-mustangs nearly every factory mustang that’s ever been built. And there have been plenty of gas powered 2-door Mustangs over the years that were not worthy of the name.

  • avatar
    IBx1

    Why not use grand futuristic names from their own past? Galaxie would be great.

    Why doesn’t Buick have an Electra?

  • avatar
    arj9084

    The Mustang was originally a slapped together response to what the market was looking for. The 63.5 falcon sprint re-styling sold really well. Today, the market is just looking for SUV’s with mileage/electric architectures it seems. Throwing the Mustang name on something like that makes sense to me. The other trick to the original mustang’s success was the option sheet/configurations.

    That’s what I don’t get about this one; it’s pretty complicated to me, and I don’t know anyone looking for a “California” edition of anything in Texas.

    • 0 avatar
      Maymar

      It might be meaningless to the typical reader here, but California still has cultural capital, and I don’t think it’s absurd to say that that capital is probably a little stronger with a typical EV buyer.

  • avatar
    ajla

    I don’t think the Mustang name will make “badge snobs” interested but I doubt Lincoln branding would have done much either.
    The biggest potential issue I see is car normies getting confused over having two Mustangs that are so different. It’ll be up to Ford’s marketing department and their dealers to make sure that doesn’t happen.

  • avatar
    Slock1

    Mitsubishi did something similar when they named a crossover the Eclipse cross. I think it will work better for Ford.

  • avatar
    cprescott

    Alas, the question. Should they or shouldn’t they?

    I am a former Mustang owner (and a Mustang koolaid drinker) so I have “remote” skin in the game (and according to at least one commenter here, the credibility to offer an opinion from my soapbox).

    I thus offer this.

    This is Not a Mustang. You can stretch the narrative that this is a Mustang, but this is a far stretch from Corvette now being turned into a Corvette Fiero with the engine moved front to midship.

    An electric Mustang would have taken the current or future generation and made it a two door pony vehicle of a different flavor and would have had ALL THE TRAPPINGS of a Mustang without turning it into this generations station wagon.

    It is understandable that Ford would pimp out its best nameplate to steal coverage of a product that ended up looking like an electric Ford Escape with a nose job and a butt lift. This is a sign of a company that is desperate for attention and is unwilling to bring out a model with a unique name (and not even exhuming an old name to reinvent itself).

    Ford is being lazy here – and I was also a nearly 4 decade buyer and owner of numerous Ford products so I carry with me the resentment of the ditch the cars and shove CUV’s/SUV’s onto us and think that us car lovers will simply hold our noses to buy another Ford of a distinct odor.

    Ford should have developed all of the technology it did and to wrap it in a compelling amazing exterior and then worked to build a Tesla fighter that was built with a modicum of quality (something Tesla still cannot do) and then to let the model grow with word of mouth and electro-snobbery that helped elevate Tesla from a fantasy of a weed smoker and conman to a legitimate product that can be serviced and sold by 2000 Ford dealers.

    And to do so without turning the Mustang into a street walking trick with four doors and a lift back and then with enough red lipstick to leave obligatory rings that say “Mustang”.

    If this vehicle was compelling, it would sell well regardless albeit with less coverage and slower – something that would allow Ford to avoid the recent Explorer/Aviator launch fiasco.

    But this will never be a Mustang. And it will even be less of a Mustang than the reborn roman numeral one from the 1970’s whose only real claim to fame is that going smaller would work but doing so came at a great cost to the nameplate for years to come until the Boss came back.

    • 0 avatar
      Art Vandelay

      An electric Mustang (in the traditional Mustang form) would have taken an increasingly niche product (Pony cars in general…look at the sales curve) and made it incredibly more niche. The sales wouldn’t be worth it as a standalone model. As a variant of the current Mach-E (with a higher priced Continental and Mark-E over at Lincoln dealers) that can share platform costs with this volume model, maybe.

    • 0 avatar
      MeJ

      I agree with everything you said.
      It is lazy for Ford to piggyback on the Mustang allure. It should have been its own vehicle that stands on its own merits…

    • 0 avatar
      dividebytube

      As a current Mustang owner – I agree with this. I like what Ford did here but not the use of the Mustang name. It cheapens the “brand”. The Mustang is a pony car; a 2 door coupe. It signifies fun and adventure. Heck I’ve had a few people come up and compliment my lowly V6 version since the later S197 styling is so reflective of the old Mustangs of yore.

      I could do an AWD Electric Mustang GT – low slung coupe with a Tesla-like ludicrous mode. And it would be a great poke in the eye to the C8 if it was faster.

  • avatar
    neil733

    Lincoln badging would work for North America, perhaps China and South Korea, but the brand is unknown in the rest of the world. The Mustang has been Europe’s best-selling sports car for the past couple of years, so has much more credibility there. Given that Ford needs this car to sell well in Europe in order to meet its mandated CO2 target for 2020 and beyond, and the Ford badge would struggle to command the premium necessary to do so profitably (or at least at minimal loss) the use of Mustang is a clever ploy. Personally, though, it would appeal to me more without the contrived Mustang cues and badged just as a Ford.

    • 0 avatar
      Ermel

      “The Mustang has been Europe’s best-selling sports car for the past couple of years” … say what?

      “MX-5, TT, 911 – it’s a class dominated by icons, and the Porsche 911 is the best-selling of them all. The 911 is Europe’s best-selling sports car of any size, let alone in its market segment. The Mercedes-AMG GT and Ferrari 488 follow in second and third.” Mustang only takes second place in the midsize sports car category, after the Audi TT, according to https://www.autocar.co.uk/car-news/new-cars/2018s-most-popular-cars-europe-market-segment

      And speaking of credibility, even if the Mustang were recognized as a sports car here (which I severely doubt), that would not by any stretch of the imagination extend to an electric four-door crossover.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    Said it before and I’ll say it again: I don’t care that this is named “Mustang,” and I don’t think it’ll fail with that nameplate, but I also think Lincoln would have been a more natural fit. It’d bring in all those Tesla buyers who are looking for something new that wasn’t built in a tent.

    Besides, what car provides better “serene performance” – the new Lincoln tagline – than an EV?

    • 0 avatar
      Art Vandelay

      That’s why you are going to get one eventually, but Ford has no cred as an EV maker right now. People are more likely to roll the dice a bit on a vehicle starting at 40kish than what Lincoln would want to get. People are more likely to spend Lincoln money after Ford has (hopefully) demonstrated their EV’s aren’t crap.

  • avatar
    Lichtronamo

    What makes you think a Mark E isn’t coming?

    Ford will need to use the platform for several products if it is to be profitable and Lincoln will need EV products as well.

    Two row crossovers like the Edge, Blazer, Murano, Passport, Atlas Sport, Grand Cherokee, X6, GLC Coupe/GLE Coupe, Q8, are today what the Mustang and Mark series coupes were in the 60s and 70s.

    Mustang seems wrong to me on this vehicle but marketing reasons won out.

  • avatar
    ponchoman49

    Oldsmobile tried slapping the then popular Cutlass name on everything from Ciera’s to Calais’s and look where that got them. I’m in the camp that this thing should go to Lincoln and leave the Mustang name alone.

    • 0 avatar
      Art Vandelay

      Olds was already done in by past sins by that point. To say that is what killed them is wrong. The Firenza, 307’s well past their “Best if used by” date, the worst diesel ever built, and a decade of crap even in an era where crap was king had already put the nail in that coffin.

  • avatar
    Art Vandelay

    All of you Mustang “Purists” that have the car on a pedestal based on the best examples of the breed aren’t fooling me. Some of them are fantastic…BUT most of them were closer to the 2.3/auto Fox Body and the 3.8 SN95 I was unfortunately saddled with during some lean times. Terrible.

    • 0 avatar
      ToddAtlasF1

      The age of Mustang sales volume not being the burden of completely pathetic performers only began when Mustangs stopped selling in huge sales volumes. They’ve all been two door cars with 2+2 interiors though. Under their skins they’ve been Falcons, Pintos, and Fairmonts in their strongest sales years. They’ve all been stylish two-doors that traded the utility of the sedans they were based on for some style. It’s rarely been about absolute performance. Calling this CUEV a Mustang is as ridiculous as freestyle walking.

  • avatar
    Ryoku75

    I miss the days of the Probe-Stang, when people actually took a stance and manufacturers listened. Ultimately, if you’re after pure sales the Mustang route was the best way to go, especially in todays “all press is good press” times.

  • avatar
    jamespdx

    This thing makes no sense as a “Mustang”. A MUSTANG buyer is a carnivore with gasoline running through their veins . . . not someone who appreciates a “vegan” interior. In my opinion this is a huge marketing blunder. Another reader points out that Mustang is a youth brand – okay, how many “youths” do you know with $40-50K to drop on a car? I think this diminishes and confuses what the Mustang is and what THIS thing is. Without question, it should be a Lincoln. Lincoln is in the midst of a revival. Now, given Ford’s track record with Lincoln, I assume they will do whatever possible to screw that up, but one thing they could have done to pump some new blood into it was offer a cutting edge EV to their product mix. Making this a Mustang makes about as much sense as a $60K Chevrolet Volt, which might still be with us, AND SOLD, had it been a Buick. As I remember, the automotive press, and the analysts who contributed their two cents during the bankruptcy bail out of Chrysler and GM cited brand disillusion and confusion as reasons for the need of restructuring – I never understood how that translated into saving Buick over Pontiac, but that’s another rant for another time. If all of the questioning about how this “fits” with a gas guzzling 500+ horsepower is true, then this just repeats an already proven failed playbook.

    • 0 avatar
      jack4x

      The average MUSTANG buyer is neither a carnivore nor a vegan, but a rental car company.

      I think the name is unfortunate, but as long as a V8 powered coupe is available, I won’t complain about what else they choose to put the name on.

  • avatar
    Matt51

    Ford..is..Stupid.
    Won’t sell, won’t get their invested money back, young people won’t be able to afford it.

  • avatar
    tankinbeans

    They could call it the Musk Oxcart, or The Streetcar Named Desire, for all I care. It doesn’t fit my driving needs yet so I won’t be gnashing my teeth too greatly.

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