HOLD YOUR HORSES, INDEED

The Haters Are Wrong. Ford’s New Electric SUV Has the Perfect Name


November 24, 2019 Cars By

Ford launched its groundbreaking electric performance SUV in Los Angeles on November 17, and as the world quickly realized, it’s launching with a controversial name. It’s not just the “Mach E,” as many early reports claimed; Ford is calling its new EV the Mustang Mach-E. Indeed, the carmaker is even describing this tall, electric-powered SUV “the newest member of the Mustang family.”

Mustang enthusiasts, unsurprisingly, are raging about it online. But the aggrieved fanboys need to stand down. The Mustang Mach-E name is perfect for this new ride.

Using the Mustang name on this new car makes all the sense in the world for Ford. It’s vital for the company that this car carries a cool reputation (and sells well). A name alone can’t make a car, but it can break one. People would be less excited about the “Ford EcoMobile,” or mildly unnerved by the “Ford E-Probe.” Ford, doubtless, is awash in survey data showing how well the name “Mustang” resonates with buyers. It’s only natural to treat it like Land Rover has the name “Range Rover” and extend it beyond the original car.

Ford expanding the bounds of “Mustang” in no way diminishes the regular Ford Mustang. Hell, Ford couldn’t cater to traditionalists more than it does with that car. The mass-market versions still have a manual transmission. Mustangs can have a large, obnoxiously loud 5.0-liter V8 engine. Do you still harbor secret fantasies of being Steve McQueen in a movie that came out more than 50 years ago? Ford will sell you a Mustang that looks exactly like that. You can even buy one that makes 760 horsepower.

And it’s not like Ford is slapping this name on a slow, awkward electric car like the Chevy Bolt. All the spy shots and reports we’ve seen and heard suggest it will be both fast and sexy (at least, for an SUV), just like the regular Mustang.

Besides, in practice, everyone will likely refer to this car as the “Mach-E.” News articles may refer to the vehicle as the Mustang Mach-E in the first instance,out of journalistic practice — but speakers will want to distinguish the EV from the traditional Mustang for clarity, and “Mustang Mach-E” is a mouthful.

Yes, Mustang traditionalists may have to encounter a horse logo on another car. One suspects they’ll find a way to cope. And, hey, there’s always the (good) chance that the Mustang Mach-E looks fantastic, performs well, and helps the Mustang brand survive at a time when global climate concern is rising and even Formula 1 is pledging to go carbon neutral. So calm down, folks.

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Tyler Duffy is Gear Patrol's Detroit-based Motoring Staff Writer. He has a black belt in toddler wrangling. He kindly requests that you not bring up Michigan football.

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