Ford announced Thursday that not only will its newest and electric-powered sport utility vehicle be “Mustang-inspired,” it will be badged as part of the Mustang brand.
The official name will be Mustang Mach-E, Ford said, adding that the actual vehicle will be uncovered November 17 in Los Angeles with the help of actor Idris Elba.
The Mach-E name is a play on the iconic Mach I Mustang muscle car introduced in 1969.
The question as I see it remains, “Will SUV flex Mustang muscles, or hobble pony car image?”
As I wrote in October, “A Mustang badge on a utility vehicle would be like entering a plow horse in the Kentucky Derby.
“Yes, I’ve seen a couple of coachbuilt Mustang shooting brakes and, yes, I think they are very cool, sort of like the original Corvette-based Nomad concept vehicle from Chevrolet. But I fear that is not what Ford is going to show us next month. My fear, and I say this as someone who owned, drove and loved a ’69 Mustang fastback until it was broadsided by someone who ran a stop sign, my fear is that we may see Ford’s version of the Pontiac Aztek, albeit with some Mustang design cues.”
However, not everyone agrees. In reporting on Ford’s announcement, CNN.com noted that, “Ford has apparently learned from brands like Porsche, Lamborghini and Jeep that even ardent fans will forgive the use of a brand name on a once-unthinkable type of vehicle. That’s as long as the new vehicle maintains some core aspects of the original and as long as the original vehicle that made the brand carries on as well.
“For instance, Porsche fans were once outraged by the Cayenne SUV. But because Porsche still makes sports cars like the 911 and the Cayenne can credibly claim to be “the Porsche of SUVs,” the brand remains strong.”
But that misses the point. Porsche didn’t call its four-door crossover the 911 Cayenne. It simply created a new model name for a vehicle that had little if anything in common with the 911.
Ford added that after the Mock, oops, I mean Mach-E, is unveiled, it will open a website so people in the U.S. and Europe can reserve one of the “First Edition” Mustang-badged SUVs for a $500 refundable credit-card deposit. At a later date, the Mach-E will be offered to Chinese customers as well.
In hyping the Mach-E, Ford shared a video that calls it “the newest member of the Mustang family.”
Hmm, does that mean this is the family carrying namesake of the pony car or might there be additional Mustang-badged vehicles in the Ford pipeline?