By on December 26, 2019

Suffice it to say this rumor won’t go over well with TTAC readers, assuming we’ve gauged their interests and allegiances right.

While it’s well known that Ford has designs on alliance partner’s Volkswagen’s dedicated electric vehicle architecture, a product that may spring forth from the alliance’s R&D loins might cause Ford naysayers to double down on their criticism of the Blue Oval’s product direction.

According to Auto Express, VW’s MEB platform may find a home beneath a future member of the Mustang “family.”

That nameplate became a family after Ford’s decision to package an in-house electric crossover as a Mustang, this one donning the “Mach-E” designation. Purists howled, but many also grudgingly accepted the fact that bestowing pony car heritage on the vehicle may be the only way for Ford to attract buyers.

With access to MEB secured via the deep partnership between Ford and VW, a baby Mustang crossover could be waiting in the wings. Auto Express claims executives from both automakers met in early November to discuss how the platform “could be adapted to better fit Ford’s needs.” Specifically, the Ford team asked about the positioning of the firewall and cowl, suggesting that the Dearborn group had a vehicle with a specific profile in mind.

Had Ford planned to build a basic EV from VW’s MEB bones, this likely wouldn’t be a topic of conversation.

While neither automaker has disclosed a future baby Mustang EV, past statements from Ford execs point to an inevitable expansion of the family. In response to a query from Auto Express, Murat Gueler, Ford of Europe’s design chief, said of the Mach-E, “The Mustang influence wasn’t considered until an earlier direction with the car wasn’t really working. Once we introduced Mustang as inspiration, it came together quickly. We’re really excited by what this brings to the electric car, and yes we have already talked about expansion, to some sort of family.”

Gueler added that a possible Mach-E cousin wouldn’t exactly match the larger vehicle’s profile, though it would almost certainly be a crossover.

Ted Cannis, the automaker’s electrification boss, said, “It’s key that we have enough flexibility, and it’s important to have enough differentiation and the kind of performance you expect from a Ford. A lot of that was done in the early part of the negotiations with VW. The parameters that we’ve seen, we can make a great Ford.”

Neither of these statements confirm that VW’s MEB platform will spawn a smaller, even less Mustang-y Mustang, but they do provide ample speculation fuel.

[Image: Ford]

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23 Comments on “Rumor Mill: A Baby Ford Mustang Mach-E, With Help From Volkswagen?...”


  • avatar
    Firestorm 500

    “Baby Mustang” = Pinto

    • 0 avatar
      phreshone

      Sales will be on fire

    • 0 avatar
      jalop1991

      –> “Baby Mustang” = Pinto

      “We did the math, and the extra bracing around the batteries would have cost us an extra $3 per car. We calculated that against the cost of potential personal injury lawsuits from rear end accidents, and found it to be acceptable to eliminate that bracing.”

      Mach E II, here we come!

  • avatar
    tankinbeans

    Ford Gelding?

  • avatar
    ToolGuy

    Fanta-stic.

    (You might get that later. I might regret it.)

  • avatar
    dal20402

    Golford.

  • avatar
    MKizzy

    Since Ford has recycled one of its iconic model names into a sporty E-CUV and is working on another, here’s a friendly reminder that it has yet to reuse “Thunderbird” which begs to be used on a electric vehicle. Ford could do it on this new small Ford/VW platform, but IMO, they’re more likely to slap the name “Thunderbird-E” or something like that on a future 3 row E-CUV.

  • avatar
    Steve203

    When people of Hackett’s ilk speak, we need to listen carefully. In multiple interviews, regarding non-North American markets, Hackett has always assured the media there will be “Ford branded” products. Note, he did not say “Ford products”, he said “Ford branded”, meaning something with a blue oval on it.

    As Ford North America increasingly concentrates on vehicles so large, they are irrelevant in the rest of the world, the non-NA divisions lose the economy of scale needed to develop smaller platforms with a reasonable payback. So, in Europe, Fords will be rebadged VWs, in India, Fords will be rebadged Mahindras, (Ford sold a controlling interest in it’s Indian operation to Mahindra last summer. Ford has already confirmed new SUVs for India will be built on Mahindra platforms) and the future for Ford in China will be rebadged Jiangling products, like Ford’s current best seller in China, the Territory, a rebadged Yusheng S330.

    GM and Ford are both trying to shrink themselves to the national markets and market segments, which are the most profitable. GM is doing it by closing or selling operations in countries that don’t generate maximum profits, while Ford is looking for something cheap in those same markets that it can slap a blue oval on, without any investment.

    • 0 avatar
      SCE to AUX

      Very interesting comments, which make a lot of sense.

      The trouble with rebranding EVs is that they have so little margin at the OEM, I wonder how the reseller can make any money.

      • 0 avatar
        Steve203

        >>The trouble with rebranding EVs is that they have so little margin at the OEM, I wonder how the reseller can make any money.<<

        Hackett is probably figuring, by pasting a Mustang brand on it, he can tack an extra 4 or 5 thousand Euros on the price. That seems to be what FCA has been doing: badging all new SUVs exclusively as Jeeps, so they can charge a higher price. It seems to work for Jeep in the US, but not so much elsewhere. Indian road tests stop just short of derisive laughter at the price of a Compass and the Chinese are staying away from Jeeps in droves.

  • avatar

    It won’t sell so none of this matters.

  • avatar
    Superdessucke

    Good to see Ford cozying up to VW at least. They will need them in a few years when the market shifts and all they have is expensive light trucks. Better that than our tax money!

    • 0 avatar
      Art Vandelay

      Yeah this hasn’t happened over 40 years and 4 dollar a gallon gas but I am sure any day now it will.

      Here is a bold prediction…if gas somehow reaches a mythical point (it will have to be somewhere well over 5 bucks a gallon as it didn’t happen there) that Americans are compelled to ditch their trucks, they won’t. They will instead ditch their elected leaders.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        “…if gas somehow reaches a mythical point (it will have to be somewhere well over 5 bucks a gallon as it didn’t happen there)”

        What will happen is fuel taxes will grow and grow because states and munis are bankrupt, then there will be a spike because certain psychotics want to bomb Iran and you’ll see this or 80% of this for an extended period. I do wonder if this was planned over a decade ago and it is why Fedgov and other statists have been pushing the EV nonsense despite the economics and demand not lining up in any way. If one could calculate all R&D spent on them vs even revenue, the I imagine the disparity would be staggering. But if your plan was to blow up the world and you’d like your economy to sort of survive it would make sense from a strategic standpoint.

        “They will instead ditch their elected leaders.”

        Hahahaha. “Elections”

      • 0 avatar
        Superdessucke

        You’re assuming gas prices will be what causes the shift from light trucks, not demographic trends. I do think fuel prices will continue to rise for the reason 28 Cars is saying, and that won’t help. But I think the end of this will be less because of fuel cost and more because of other trends such as lower wages, the gig economy, lesser likelihood of younger people to view vehicles as status symbols, environmental concerns, and preference for urban living.

        • 0 avatar
          Art Vandelay

          With respect to the preference for urban living, everyone says when they are young they will never leave the city. Then they have kids. Some rethink it then, having a baby in a tiny apartment is no fun, but for many it is when it is time to put that kid in school. They pull up that urban school on the internet, look at the ratings, go buy a Honda Odyssey and move to the suburbs where there are still tons of young people buying, at least where I am at.

          No generation is going to be like their parents…until that day they decide to be like their parents.

          • 0 avatar
            Superdessucke

            Well, I definitely agree no one can predict the future. In the Chicago area though, suburbs are struggling big time. The City of Chicago has a great magnet school program, so rich families are choosing to stay. And the poor are moving to the burbs in droves, which is dragging down school scores there and bringing other social ills too.

            There are exceptions but, on the whole, the burbs’ future ain’t looking bright. Maybe that’s different in other major urban areas? I don’t know.

  • avatar
    analogman

    I think what’s happening at Ford is that the Ford family wants out. They want to sell the company and be done with it. Other than Bill Jr., the rest of the family doesn’t seem to have the same commitment to being in the car business that previous generations did.

    The only way the Ford family can get out is by selling the company to another car company (they certainly can’t sell much stock on the open market without raising alarms). All of Ford’s recent seemingly stupid moves, such as eliminating cars from the U.S. market, are primping the company for sale, most likely to VW or BMW. This latest news is just another step in the progressive cozying up of Ford to VW.

    BMW would like to add trucks to their car line. VW both wants trucks and needs a way to rebrand themselves after the dieselgate fiasco. Both of those companies have their own cars but need trucks.

    To make Ford more attractive as an acquisition candidate, they’ve focused on maximizing profits even at the expense of total revenues and market share. What BMW and VW want most from Ford is the F150, their most profitable product. Hackett has said he’d be happy selling just trucks.

    It maximizes value for the Ford family if they really do sell out. Acquisitions usually happen at a premium to the market price. I’ve heard they would prefer to sell to BMW as another ‘family owned’ business, but having VW as another bidder is the way to get the highest price (and VW’s recent investment keeps them close).

    The real (gas engine) Mustang is irrelevant in this process. It’s sales are a small fraction of Ford’s total volume, and I don’t know how much either BMW or VW care about keeping it. What Mustang owners want doesn’t matter at all to Ford. It only still exists because it’s incrementally profitable (though not as much as the F150), because it’s a relatively minor distraction to them, and because there are still some enthusiasts left at Ford working on it. Though, if it wasn’t for Ford usurping the Mustang name on the Mach-E, I don’t know how long it would last.

    It might work out financially for the family if they actually sell out to BMW or VW. Or, if gas prices spike (for any one of a number of reasons) and people stop buying trucks and SUVs and want cars again, Ford would be screwed. Either way, I think we should enjoy the (real) Mustang now, because I don’t think it has a long future in V8 IC form.

    • 0 avatar
      Steve203

      >>I think what’s happening at Ford is that the Ford family wants out.<<

      That may be. Rumor has been for years that the Agnelli family wants out of Fiat, tho Ferrari was spun off so they could continue to play with that. Why, the Ford family may ask, do we bother with all these factories and employees, when we can make more money, with less aggravation, and pay less tax, putting our loot in the stock market?

      The general trend at the big three lately has been to pursue higher transaction prices and gross margin per vehicle, regardless of the impact on volume. FCA clearly said that in it's Q3 report.

      The trend at the big three is another vector of Welchism. Jack Welch said, years ago, that he didn't want GE to be in any field where it was not #1 or #2, and the disassembly of GE since then does resemble the string of abandoned markets and abandoned product segments the big three have pursued.

      Additionally, for the last 40 years, government policy and the tax code have been reworked to make financial speculation more rewarding than productive work. While GE was abandoning one industry after another, it was putting the loot into GE financial. Boeing has nearly bankrupted itself buying back stock, rather than investing in new product. GM has dumped off 2/3rds of it's market share, abandoned brands, abandoned markets, abandoned product segments, while it built up GMAC by expanding it into areas that had nothing to do with car financing. It would be no surprise for Welchism to infect Ford, only worrying about the "brand", while subbing out all the irritating parts of R&D and production to someone else, while Ford puts the money it no longer spends on product and facilities into financial speculation.

      • 0 avatar
        pesteele

        Wonderful work – the concise and complete story of the last 40 years of American capitalism in just 4 paragraphs.

        Too bad that no one who needs to read it will.

      • 0 avatar
        analogman

        Very well said. And people wonder what has become of manufacturing in the US. As you said, it’s no surprise that manufacturing has declined so precipitously in this country, when our system provides more economic incentives to engage in financial speculation than actually making things. It’s depressing going to a hardware store (or anywhere else for that matter) and trying to find something, anything, that isn’t stamped ‘Made in China’.

        Business “thinking” (if it can be called that) has become more and more short-term over the past couple of decades. A business plan with a 3-5 year return on investment is now considered laughable. To hedge fund managers and venture capitalists, anything beyond the end of the current year, and more often the current quarter, is not even on their horizons. How can one invest in actually developing and making anything with expectations like that?

        It’s a very sad state of affairs, and unlikely to get better anytime soon, unless by some miracle there is a complete turnover in the executive and legislative branches of government with smart, ethical, courageous people who actually give a damn about their civic responsibilities and care about the people they claim to represent.

        I hope people like China and the things made there, because they increasingly own us.

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