Can you guess who it is?
Expanding the Ford Mustang nameplate may alone be controversial, but applying the world's original and most famous pony car's name to an all-electric crossover is another thing entirely. In short, it was a bold and brave move on Ford's part, but the decision to do so wasn't made unless a certain someone gave his approval. That someone happens to be one of the world's most passionate Mustang fans. He only owns 35 of them. His name also happens to be on the big sign outside.
Executive Chairman Bill Ford, according to Automotive News, did not at first want to call the Mach-E crossover a Mustang. He had to be convinced by Ford Team Edison, the special group within Ford assigned the task to develop EVs. "I certainly wasn't sold at the beginning – far from it," Ford said.
"They came to me and said, 'We really think we can make this Mustang-inspired, really Mustang-like.' I said, 'You guys aren't telling me you want to call this a Mustang.' No one would say yes, but nobody would say no, either. I said, 'No, I'm sorry, I don't want to hurt the brand. This is not going to be a Mustang." But the team didn't give up without a fight.
They knew the vehicle they had. And they also knew that in order to win over those unconvinced that EVs are fun and engaging to drive, serious performance figures were a must. Anything that would wear that iconic badge had to deliver exhilarating performance.
The final naming decision actually came down to a single meeting, attended by Ford himself, along with Jim Farley, president of new businesses, technology, and strategy. Farley was one of the 2021 Mustang Mach-E project leaders. "Bill came in the room, we had all the information, we had a really open discussion with him," Farley said. "We had to prove to him it has all the substance of a Mustang."
The team argued to the Ford scion the vehicle could deliver 332 hp and 417 lb-ft with the base model. Its 0 -60 mph time would also be faster than the base Porsche Macan. The GT model would boost output to 459 hp and 612 lb-ft and a 0 to 60 time similar to that of the Porsche 911 GTS. Bill Ford was intrigued, but he still requested a test drive.
"When I drove it, I knew it had to be a Mustang," Ford said. "Frankly, I was getting there before because I believed the team when they were laying all the specs out. As it evolved and I started to see the performance characteristics, not just the 0 to 60, but the handling dynamics, the driving dynamics and the styling kept evolving, at some point I realized: Yeah, this is a Mustang. The pony could go on the grille."
Once he gave approval, the design team went into overdrive because the original non-Mustang-inspired design had to be scrapped. And now Bill Ford plans to buy the first Mustang Mach-E. "It doesn't replace the Mustang car I love," Ford said. "It's an addition to the family, and it's a really important one."