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How Ford's Mustang Mach-E came to be

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How Ford's Mustang Mach-E came to be
November 18, 2019 12:00 AM 2 HOURS AGO
 

DETROIT — Two years ago, Jim Farley visited Ford Motor Co.'s Dearborn, Mich., design studio to review a long-range battery-electric crossover that had been in development for the past three years.

The new CEO, Jim Hackett, had just tapped Farley as president of global markets, a job that includes overseeing the company's electric vehicle plans. Ford was behind in the segment and sorely needed an EV that could compete with rivals such as General Motors and Tesla.

What he saw — essentially a wagon version of the Focus Electric — wasn't going to cut it.

"He took one look and said, 'No way, no how. You guys are rebooting this program,' " recalled Jason Castriota, brand director for Ford's battery EVs.

The quick rejection was a gut punch for the development team. But Farley's criticism also sparked what the vehicle would eventually become. He wanted it to be inspiring and performance-oriented, not just another compliance car.

 

"Think Mustang," Farley told them.

Ford was scheduled to reveal on Sunday, Nov. 17, the byproduct of that advice: the 2021 Mustang Mach-E, a battery-electric crossover with a range of at least 300 miles.

It's the first utility vehicle to carry the iconic pony-car badge, and the nameplate is a play on the performance-oriented Mach 1 moniker. Castriota said it will be Ford's "best-handling vehicle" and boast driving specs comparable to those of a Porsche.

The Mach-E represents a full pivot in Ford's product strategy under a compressed time frame. The design team basically had to start from scratch, changing everything from the quality of the exterior mirrors to the size of the interior display screen.

"The day we decided this would be Mustang-inspired, we saw everyone light up," said Darren Palmer, Ford's global head of product development for BEVs. "It upped the ante hugely."

 

‘We own Mustang'

After Farley ordered the about-face, the development team started by defining whom, exactly, they were building the vehicle for. It was no longer primarily about environmentally conscious buyers.

"Let's take out everything that leans green," Castriota said. "Let's see who this customer really is."

Instead, they visualized a forward-looking, tech-positive progressive with a "growth mindset." The descriptors matched the type of buyer for Ford's iconic pony car.

"This was a major, watershed moment," Castriota said. "We found Ford BEV customers were very, very like Mustang customers. We decided it's got to be Mustang-inspired. We own Mustang."

 

The designers went to work. They accentuated the rear haunches, lifted the nose and pulled back the A-pillar. They pulled the front wheels forward 70 mm and pushed the rear ones back 20 mm. And they added the Mustang's classic tri-bar taillights.

 

From two years to four months

Design development work was condensed into four months instead of the usual two-year time frame. The sketch for the initial 3D model, said Chris Walter, the exterior design manager, was created in less than a week. The interior was also completely reimagined.

The initial design that executives rejected included a 12.4-inch portrait-oriented touch screen. It featured a number of carryover parts to meet financial targets, including the same steering wheel as the now-discontinued Fiesta.

 

But in switching direction, the interior team tried something new: It brought would-be customers into the studio for the first time to experience the vehicle up close.

A trip to China revealed that customers wanted a larger touch screen, so the team developed a 15.5-inch monitor with a specially designed knob at the bottom.

The Mach-E also features the next-generation Sync infotainment system, crafted by a 15-person group to be as customer-oriented as possible.

Back in Dearborn, early prototypes were outfitted with plastic foam pieces that could be switched out quickly, depending on customer feedback.

"We were swapping parts out like Legos," said Josh Greiner, the vehicle's interior design director.

 

Call it a Mustang

Feedback from consumer clinics persuaded the team to go beyond "Mustang-inspired" and make the vehicle a full-fledged horse in the Ford pony-car stable. Executive Chairman Bill Ford signed off on the decision, and developers settled on the Mach-E name as a nod to the performance Mach 1 pony cars of the past.

"It's Silicon Valley meets Route 66," Castriota said.

The Mach-E features the iconic galloping horse logo on the front and rear, as well as the Mach-E name on the side. Among its Mustang-specific design cues are a double-cowl instrument panel and "ground speed" markings on the cluster.

Ford is introducing a new ordering process with the Mach-E. With a $500 refundable deposit, consumers can reserve a spot in line for a special "first edition" model and configure their vehicle ahead of its arrival next year.

Ford said the Mach-E will go on sale across the U.S. all at once, not concentrated on EV-friendly states such as California. Pricing was not released, but officials said it will be $40,000 to $50,000 before the $7,500 federal tax credit.

Ford has been preparing its dealer network to service the Mach-E and other EVs that follow. Officials said Ford now has 9,500 trained EV technicians and 2,000 dealerships certified to work on EVs.

"The goal was to make it awesome so the demand is natural," said Ted Cannis, Ford's global head of electrification. "We're set up for glory."

 

 

Edited by jpd80

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Has anyone seen anything about avoiding price gouging?  There was discussion here by Dean and ice-capades about Mach pricing being similar to x-plan, but has anyone seen/heard anything official?

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3 hours ago, sullynd said:

Has anyone seen anything about avoiding price gouging?  There was discussion here by Dean and ice-capades about Mach pricing being similar to x-plan, but has anyone seen/heard anything official?

 

They haven't officially announced pricing yet so no

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1 hour ago, fuzzymoomoo said:

 

They haven't officially announced pricing yet so no


They did publish prices though even if they’re not final so I would not expect major changes.

 

It sounds like you buy it from Ford at MSRP, choose your local dealer for delivery and the dealer gets a commission payment.

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I hope this is true, particularly the highlighted portion:

 

As for dynamics, Ford is having the same people who tune Mustangs tune the Mach-E. Fingers crossed that they threw one of the Shelby guys or gals at it. Because magnetic suspension similar to what's on the GT350 and GT500 will be an option, we might get my wish.

 

Source:https://www.msn.com/en-us/autos/autos-hybrids/2021-ford-mustang-mach-e-revealed-an-electric-mustang-suv-believe-it/ar-BBWUF3s?OCID=HPDHP

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On the other hand, Peter Delorenzo has sour grapes:   http://www.autoextremist.com/

He's an ex-GM executive, and of course the Chevrolet Bolt is bland and boring.

He is also a hydrogen/fuel cell advocate, and hydrogen lost.

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24 minutes ago, AGR said:

On the other hand, Peter Delorenzo has sour grapes:   http://www.autoextremist.com/

He's an ex-GM executive, and of course the Chevrolet Bolt is bland and boring.

He is also a hydrogen/fuel cell advocate, and hydrogen lost.

Pete D looks for any excuse to bash Ford, warranted or not. 

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37 minutes ago, fuzzymoomoo said:

Pete D looks for any excuse to bash Ford, warranted or not. 

 

Delorenzo is pissed off at Ford because Farley cancelled his consulting contract.

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1 hour ago, mackinaw said:

 

Delorenzo is pissed off at Ford because Farley cancelled his consulting contract.

 

That too. I forgot about that. He HATES Farley. 

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PDL is just pissed off that no one invites him to anything anymore, he's just not that influential anymore....

 

Mustang Mach E is mostly on Jim Farley so yeah, you can see Pete is really boiling mad...

Edited by jpd80

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On 11/18/2019 at 10:19 PM, AGR said:

On the other hand, Peter Delorenzo has sour grapes:   http://www.autoextremist.com/

He's an ex-GM executive, and of course the Chevrolet Bolt is bland and boring.

He is also a hydrogen/fuel cell advocate, and hydrogen lost.

I don't think Pete said anything that hasn't been said here.

 

Additionally, I dont think he's being hard on Ford at all. There's a large degree of truth in what he said.

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On 11/18/2019 at 10:44 PM, fuzzymoomoo said:

Pete D looks for any excuse to bash Ford, warranted or not. 

 

Autoextremist has extreme opinions and positions, by definition. :)

 

All of his writings bash some aspect of the automotive industry. Or some well known industry executive. Sometimes the bashing is fully justified, sometimes not (as with this week's column about Mustang Mach-E). Either way Autoextremist columns are fun to read.

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Of course you realize Peter D's nickname is "Auto Whiner."  All he does is piss and moan about whatever he feels like pissing and moaning about.

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On 11/23/2019 at 1:26 PM, rperez817 said:

 

Autoextremist has extreme opinions and positions, by definition. :)

 

All of his writings bash some aspect of the automotive industry. Or some well known industry executive. Sometimes the bashing is fully justified, sometimes not (as with this week's column about Mustang Mach-E). Either way Autoextremist columns are fun to read.

 

He harps on a particular subject for weeks and then finds the next weeks-long punching bag, and so on and so forth.

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