Rumor Mill: A Baby Ford Mustang Mach-E, With Help From Volkswagen?
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.
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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.