Without it, the seventh-generation Mustang may have required electrification.
Last week, Ford used the occasion of the Detroit Auto Show to reveal its latest iteration of the Ford Mustang, and to the surprise of many, it was presented without electrification of any sort. Remember when the all-electric Mustang Mach-E debuted, and so many people felt that this heralded the end of the combustion-powered pony car?
But as it turns out, the introduction of the electric crossover is the very reason that the new Mustang was able to be produced without a low-emission electrified powertrain. Speaking with CNBC, Ford CEO Jim Farley revealed that the Mach-E's electric powertrain has given the brand enough regulatory credits to keep the V8 alive and even sell some to rivals.
"The Mustang Mach-E, in a way, created, [or] allowed this car to happen," said Farley. "Competitors are buying credits for emissions, and they can't come out with this kind of vehicle," referring to the V8 Mustang. Chairman Bill Ford also reiterated that the V8 will live on for as long as customers want it and regulations allow it to exist, but some have questioned why Ford has not decided to go the electric route as soon as possible. After all, that's what future regulations are expecting, and that's what big-time rival Dodge is doing, killing the HEMI Charger and Challenger and replacing them with electric successors.
Farley and the team at Ford are not stupid, and they've looked at what Dodge and others are doing very closely. In fact, Farley specifically mentions the Blue Oval's cross-town rival: "People are leaving the segment, like Dodge, so we have a chance to really present something new about Mustang. This is going to give us a big advantage because a lot of people still love this kind of car."
His reasoning makes a lot of sense. Almost every article, blog post, Instagram reel, Facebook story, or even comment on electric vehicles will inevitably have someone commenting that they simply refuse to embrace electrification. It doesn't matter how much ecological data you present or what benefits you put forward, some people just refuse to let go of the sound of combustion.
Ford will have a clear initial advantage once the final V8-powered Dodge Last Call muscle cars are all sold out. After that happens, the Mustang's only competition will be the geriatric Camaro, which continually ranks far behind the Challenger and Mustang in sales. Basically, Ford is banking on the Mach-E and F-150 Lightning to bring in more regulatory credits for the next few years, with the Mustang bringing in truckloads of cash from those who can no longer buy a Challenger but still want a V8 rumble.
When Ford has no choice but to go electric with the Mustang, it will have earned a fortune and spent years learning more about EV sports cars, putting it in an excellent position to mount a threat to the eventual production version of the Dodge Charger Daytona SRT concept. And if the world decides not to go with EVs after all, it will be better prepared for that too.