Mock 1: Ford confirms new Mustang-badged SUV

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Mach-E
Ford shared two logos for its new Mustang Mach-E sport utility vehicle, one with horizontal stripes
… and one without the stripes

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.”

Mustang Mach-E teaser | Ford illustrations

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.

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“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?

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A former daily newspaper sports editor, Larry Edsall spent a dozen years as an editor at AutoWeek magazine before making the transition to writing for the web and becoming the author of more than 15 automotive books. In addition to being founding editor at ClassicCars.com, Larry has written for The New York Times and The Detroit News and was an adjunct honors professor at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University.

7 COMMENTS

  1. Since Ford has discontinued sedan car production, it’s evident they’re trying to milk the Mustang name/brand or all its worth. This is an awful development. I loved the two Mustangs I drove for the past 5 years, especially the 5.0 I gave up in favor of an Audi A5. The Audi is lame in comparison and I’m considering a trade in for a Shelby GT 350. A ‘Mustang’ SUV will be silly and stupid branding. In trying to attract suburban wannabe cowboys, Ford is jerking around the most famous name it has left.

  2. Ok, I get that SUV is al the rage. I own a 2010 Mustang and have owned a mustang almost every year of my 35 years of driving. A Mustang is only a 2 door sports car. NOT a 4 door SUV. I joke with my friends when they ask "Is your mustang a V8?" I reply YES, and it is a GT 5 speed, anything else should be called a Pinto. Let’s bring a new type of SUV to the Ford corral, but let’s not mess with the Mustang. Let’s call the new SUV a "Maverick". Wasn’t that Fords version of a Mustang 4 door in the 70s?

    • Yea- Ford needs to leave Mustang alone– Badge it Mach 1 if they want but to put an iconic badge like the Mustang on an SUV is like jamming one on a Pinto.

  3. Actually, Jeep and Porsche are PERFECT examples.
    Both are halo brands. Both now have MORE sales outside of their signature vehicles than their flagships. That revenue is then funneled back in to keep the 911 and Wrangler going.
    Embrace it… and the 0-60 times might be so good with this new Electric Car that you might have to rename your Mustang a Probe or something.

    • But Porsche didn’t call it the 911 Cayenne nor did Jeep call it the Wrangler Compass. Those vehicles were introduced as separate models. Mustang is a model, not a marque.

  4. Since the Mach-E GT 0-60 time equals the Shelby GT500 Mustang, are you saying that a Mach-E can’t be called a Mustang because it performs better than the other Mustangs? And the Mach-E Performance Edition will do better (maybe 0-60 in the high 2’s). Would you recommend that it have a logo of a man standing over a broken-legged Mustang with a pistol? It’s just progress…people will look back in a 100 years and shake their heads in disdain about the ICE era.

    • My point is that they are different animals. A Mustang is, well, a Mustang. This new vehicle is a sport or crossover utility vehicle, not a sporty coupe/convertible. One has an ICE-based powertrain, the other an electric propulsion system. One was a revolution in the American automotive marketplace when it was introduced.

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