While the Mustang name has stood for coupes and convertibles doing rude burnouts for nearly six decades, that might be starting to change. In 2022, Ford made more Mustang Mach-E electric crossovers than Mustang coupes. A lot more. The company made 77,959 Mach-Es in Cuautitlan alone compared to 65,480 Mustang coupes. What’s more, Ford reported less than half as many Mach-Es in inventory at the end of 2023 than Mustang coupes, which very likely means that the Mach-E outsold the coupe globally through 2022.
This phenomenon is starting to happen in America, too. In December 2022, the Ford Mustang Mach-E electric crossover outsold the Mustang coupe in the land of apple pie by nearly 1,000 units. What’s more, I’ve previously reported that Ford is ramping up Mach-E production for 2023. Unless customers really show up for the new 2024 Mustang coupe, we’re looking at a future where the Mustang brand is primarily electric.
This might come as a complete shock to people used to my depreciated German shitbox tendencies, but I am a Mustang guy. I was, to borrow a line from Odd Future founding member Hodgy, one of the children who fled houses on Mustang horses and went jousting. I dropped the fuel tank on a New Edge lying on concrete, rode the axle tramp of S197s, skated a Mach 1 on cold tires through second, through third, until some semblance of traction was found, and dropped my jaw through the concrete like a cast iron bathtub out of a tenth floor window when the Dark Horse came out of nowhere in Detroit.
I’ve loved every minute of it and everything Mustang stands for. The speed, the accessibility, the mild sense of danger knowing that eight-cylinder missiles with an accountant-fixed price cap being turned out at a high enough rate and with a scratchy-enough interior that the average late-twenty-something can afford to drive one may have some corners cut. Will the MT-82 in a GT spectacularly fail on the next hard shift? Who knows? It’s here for a good time, not a long time.
From this position, you might expect me to have feelings about the Mach-E. I do, but they aren’t the feelings you’d expect. The Mach-E is a real Mustang for two reasons. First, because Ford says so, and second, because it’s one of the few electric cars that actually wants to play. A Porsche Taycan is a much more accomplished performance car, but it doesn’t want to powerslide at the slightest provocation in the same way even a base Mach-E does.
The Mach-E is rowdy enough to deserve the Mustang name, and if we’re going for hot takes here, the steering effort on the Mach-E feels more linear than that on a regular Ecoboost coupe. Sure, the ride is harsh and the brake blending could use some work, but the overall feel made me run through a full charge in one Mach-E in just 12 hours without straying outside of a 35-mile radius just because I was having fun. That’s what a proper Mustang should make you want to do.
More importantly, many of the people who had 2005 Mustangs when they were young are now parents, and fitting a car seat, a stroller, a diaper bag, and all the trimmings in a Mustang coupe is just so damn difficult. If you’re a parent and thinking of buying a crossover SUV or a minivan, by all means do it. It will make your life so much easier. Melding a little bit of Mustang character with all the space required to do modern family things is an absolute blast from my experience, and it certainly helps that the Mach-E is a well-executed product by normal car standards.
On all the examples I’ve driven, build quality and material quality have been quite good. The upgraded B&O stereo on Premium and higher models is a cut above similar branded systems in other Ford products, rear seat space is quite good, and cargo space with the seats up feels as usable as in many other compact crossovers. Aside from a few niggling UX quirks, the Mach-E feels like its price tag, something that I can’t say about the Tesla Model Y. Even for people who don’t care about the Mustang mystique, the Mach-E is a good car, which opens up a world of buyers beyond the confines of the performance car market.
The future of the Mustang may be looking mostly electric, but I’m alright with that. It’s still looking engaging, quick, visually-loud, and somewhat irreverent, same as it ever was. While the upcoming seventh-generation Mustang coupe will likely be the last combustion-powered pony car, I have high hopes for whatever electric replacement is coming down the line. If the Mach-E is anything to go by, it should be a blast.
(Photo credits: Ford)
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From one Mustang lover to another, thank you for busting out of that proverbial closet of A coral and sharing your true self to the world. I certainly play my deep love for Mustang close to the chest as well.
Regardless, DT says you are in Toronto. We need to do a GTA (not the wicked video game) Autopian meet-up. Just a thought.
“The Mach-E is a real Mustang for two reasons. First, because Ford says so”
No sir, they may have co-opted the name, but that does not make it correct. A fun 4 door EV, is still not a RWD 2 door coupe Pony car.
They tried to say that the car that became the Probe was a Mustang, too, but we told Ford otherwise.
We considered an electric vehicle very seriously. After opting out of a Tesla because Elon, the Mach-E became the lead choice.
Then we decided a (near-) mortgage payment for a new car is ludicrous and would never be worth the gas savings.
Right on. I am very pro-electric. And the “savings at the pump” part of EV ownership is always touted, but the math is almost always twisted. Granted, the tax savings could be of benefit, but I’m not sure it would work out for most. My father was very big on having fuel efficient vehicles, so when I was old enough to think about such things, I’d ask him why he bought that ’82 Caprice Classic or the ’79 Plymouth Fury or the ’85 Buick Riviera. And he would sit me down and plot out how many miles we drove per year vs. average price of gas and compare the gas cost vs. purchase cost of a new(er) car and, yeah, old man was right.
If Ferd can make an electric CUV that plays like a car, great! It means the littles being toted around in them have a shot at growing up enjoying cars. I’m fine with that.
I completely share this sentiment. My kids love the rowdy obnoxiousness of my 95 but even at 11 and 12yrs old they know that my car would get completely annihilated if I was lined up against almost any new ev. It’s awesome to see how excited they get when we see a Mach e or Tesla. Recently they have been on the lookout for the new Porsche in the wild.
Some nice spin there Ford:
In July 2022
“Compared with an SUV, the Ford Mustang offers limited practicality in exchange for sporty performance. Consequently, the Mustang can be a tough sell, as suggested by its 70-day stopover at dealerships.”
And that’s AFTER stopping production several times earlier in the year:
“Ford Mustang production at the Ford Flat Rock Assembly Plant has been impacted numerous times over the last several months for more than one reason. Back in September , that reason was a major gas leak, while a pause in 2022 Ford Mustang production last month [Jan 2022] was attributed to the semiconductor chip shortage. Now, sources familiar with the matter have told Ford Authority that 2022 Ford Mustang production will once again cease temporarily, this time for a full three weeks [Feb, Mar 2022].
So it’s not exactly and completely only because E Mustang sales are through the roof. Ordinary Mustang sale went into the basement.
Please! Stop bringing facts to the argument.
Ford Motor Company
Marketing Spin Department
Crossover sells more than sports coupe. You heard it here first, folks
Came here to say about the same thing. One of the cheapest electric SUVs on the market outsold a sport car is hardly noteworthy. Ford is transparently trying to hype up its electric car with a misleading name.
I mean Ford attaching the Mustang name to the Mach E was a stroke of marketing genius. Love it or hate it, everyone has been talking about it from day 1. By all accounts it does seem to be a pretty good car. The fact that it’s called a Mustang doesn’t really bother me personally. I have a decent amount of history with pony cars, although I’ve never owned one and probably never will.
I just wish this damn thing was less expensive. It’s pricey for what it is and when you add all the bells and whistles it’s up against some pretty enticing ICE options. But either way…it’s fine. Its existence doesn’t irk me in the slightest.
what is interesting is they say they hit the online order maxes on the Bronco, the Maverick and the Mach-E. Yet with all that good sales info, the company posted a 2Billion dollar loss. so either the recalls really did hurt Ford quite a bit, or the losses from Rivian and Autonomous driving investments were really bad, or the popular models are not that profitable. I have to wonder if they will still be popular if they price them higher.
Right, same here. Never owned a pony car because I had too much common sense with my $ and was always lightly more practical but I have respect for them and maybe someday one from my childhood will make a fun weekend car.
For now, since CUVs always cost more than the car they are based on, I would love to see some trickle down on the EV side, let’s start cutting it up and selling a more sedan or coupe shape for less than the CUV version. We know we won’t ever see those body styles so we will continue to pay the CUV tax due to perceived and some minor benefits vs sedans/coupes.
If anything, the complaint i have about the Mach-E is that it’s TOO much of a Mustang. The fastback roofline really made fitting baby gear too hard, but man did it corner on my test drive.
How does it do going backwards into curbs or medians when departing a Cars & Coffee-type gathering?
Much curb appeal?
Alas, as an old gearhead, I’m saddened. Tis the was of the world. I’m fine with electric, but this the e’Stang t’aint a Mustang to me. Great branding on by Ford. But somehow life isn’t the same…
In 10 years there will be more 2022 ICE Mustangs still on the road than 2022 Mach E “Mustangs”.
10 years, probably not. Modern EVs are pretty reliable, and used ICE Mustangs are likely to be picked up cheap and crashed hard by young’ns. 30 years, sure.
ICE’d – On the side of the road, with broken transmissions…
Why did you put that white Model Y in the article?
It’s a Mustang you say!
Ford is a bottle cap away from pushing me too far.
The sexy Mach E is begging for an ICE version with AWD and a 5.0 (and a 6MT option)!
A story goes about John Coletti, then design manager at Ford for the Mustang, during a 1988 studio visit with his boss Ken Dabrowski. They saw a Ford Probe wearing a ‘GT’ badge. Coletti reportedly asked, “What the hell is that?”, to which Dabrowski explained it was the new Mustang.
Coletti then reportedly said, “That may be a lot of things, but a Mustang it isn’t!”
The same comment applies to the Mach-E. Regardless of what badge Ford sticks on it, it’s not a Mustang, and never will be.
They also said the Mustang II was a Mustang.
I’ve owned 3 Mustang IIs, 3 fox-bodies, and 2 S197s.
Hate from ignorant jackwagons like yourself is no small part of why I like the Mustang IIs the most.
Don’t get me wrong, from a driving standpoint the two S197s were far superior vehicles, but the Mustang II gets attention everywhere it goes instead of blending in, draws a crowd, and makes me laugh when I meet someone like yourself in person. It doesn’t hurt that my ’75 has over 300 horsepower and a glovebox full of 12-second timeslips.
The Mustang Mach E?
The automotive equivalent of a tribute band.
The people that are complaining about the Mach E not being a Mustang because it isn’t a 2-door coupe are the same ones that were going crazy back in 2005 when Dodge starting selling the 4-door Charger. They railed about how a 4-door sedan couldn’t be a real Charger because a Charger was a 2-door coupe.
The change worked pretty well for Dodge over the past couple of decades and I’m sure it will work out for Ford.
I think you’re missing the fact that the Charger was still a RWD, V8 powered muscle car, whereas the Mach E is essentially an electric Ford Edge with Mustang badges. A better comparison would be if the Dodge Journey had been called Charger.
Dodge already made a 4-cylinder FWD Charger in the ’80s.
One other thought that should give hope to enthusiasts in the future: quite a few of the EV models are primarily RWD, which is as (insert your deity here) intended.
Cars and Coffee has fallen out of fashion and with it the need for replacement Mustang coupes.
Well now that they tweaked the rules for the tax credit that Mach-E and Model Y can be up to $80k, Ford & Tesla will reverse the price cuts for sure.
Ford is dumbfoundingly success with their names/marketing/sales. All the Bronco special editions, etc people are such suckers for on a massively high production vehicle. Everything now gets a first, second, 99th, limited edition.
Literally the number one comment I get from the (shockingly large number) of people who wander up to me in parking lots to ask about our Mach-E is ‘I wish Ford made a four door Mustang when I had kids, I wouldn’t be driving this F-150/Explorer/etc.’ Not complaints about the badge on the front.
I’ll also die on the hill the Mach-E is better described as a sports wagon than a crossover/SUV, but that’s another discussion.
Even though the Escape has a shorter wheelbase, it still manages to look absolutely bloated when parked next to a Mach E. I’d agree that it’s more of a tall sedan/wagon than a crossover, although I’m sure everyone who purchased one are glad the IRS considers it one.
The already ill-defined line between car and crossover does seem to be getting blurrier at an increasing rate lately
I don’t doubt it outsold the gas version if they made more and the trend is to electric cars. That’s kind of expected. But about the argument of a regular Mustang being no good for families.. yeah, you’re right there, I have a 2 year old who loves ‘daddy car’ and how it goes ‘vroom vroom’ but getting him in the back is a hassle. We have a family car and a work truck so I’m not getting rid of it but if I wanted something that was similar with 4 doors I’m walking straight towards a Hemi-equipped Charger, not an electric SUV.
better get on that quick. Stellantis has drank the cool-aid on this one.
They’re dangling the possibility of a Hurricane PHEV Charger, which is a far cry from actually building it, but there’s some chance. Concept is 2-door, but it’s proportions seem to suggest a 4-door
I feel like people forget the decades Mustangs spent as basic transportation shit boxes with a little style and theater. The Mach E is way more Mustang than the Mustang II, the millions of 4 cylinder fox bodies, or the old 4.0 V6 base models. My fat electric pony is better than any of those. Long live 12/10ths scale hatchbacks.
It is a fine car except where Ford screws up like every launch. But a 4 door isn’t a coupe, a hardtop isn’t a convertible, and while an EV CAN be a Mustang a CUV OR SUV CAN’T. Noone said the car sucks or is bad they simply say it isn’t a Mustang. If some think its a Mustang and pay for the badge of course they will say it is a Mustang. Who wants to look like an idiot. Between that and losing out on the EV credit I’d be royally pissed and trying to convince myself i didn’t overpay by $20k.
It’s the modern equivalent of what the Mustang has spent most of its existence as: less practical basic transportation. When the family car was a sedan, it was a coupe. Now that the family car is a crew cab truck or three row CUV, its a hatchback passing as a CUV with too much hood, too little cargo space, and too much desire to step out the back end.
Just like the “sports cars must be manuals” and “SUVs must be body on frame” crowds that came before, the not a Mustang crew will eventually have to accept that times change, and there is room for more than one thing.
I find it mildly amusing (and somewhat concerning) that some put so much stock in a name, and even more amusing when some lose their shit over said name. Whilst my wife and I love our Mach E (which, it should be mentioned, shares the driveway with our Mustang GT coupe), we would’ve bought it even if it had a blue oval in place of the pony emblem on the ‘grille’ and hatch and was called anything else.
It’s a vehicle, not a personal affront, and I’m officially too goddamned old to care about such small details, although I’m certainly jealous of those who have such precious little to worry about that they have time to argue online about the name of a car.
Hey, it’s Ford that’s spent decades tying the Mustang name to a specific type of vehicle. Nothing wrong at all with an EV that’s fun to drive, but if the name means nothing then why not just call them all Mustangs? The Explorer could be the Mustang XL and the Expedition, the Mustang 2XL. (Or maybe 4XL.)
Can’t argue that the name didn’t get the car a hell of a lot of attention, though. (And all of us here are fortunate to have the time to spend farting around with comments on a car web site. 😉 )
“First, because Ford says so, and second, because it’s one of the few electric cars that actually wants to play.”
By this logic, a Macan would be a 911 if Porsche said so.
Apparently the Macan is great for what it is. I’ve never driven one but the general consensus is that it lives up to the badge. That being said I can’t imagine choosing one when the price to get into a base 4 cylinder one runs up against 6 cylinder competition. A normally equipped Macan is right there with an X3 M40i or SQ5, which have mo powaaaa baby.
That still doesn’t make a Macan a 911. I’m also not a fan of this article basically giving life to the narrative that Mach E = Mustang when we all know it’s a marketing ploy
I know it doesn’t, I just thought it was worth mentioning.
The Macan is by all accounts a great crossover, just like the Mach E is by all accounts a solid EV crossover. That doesn’t make it a 911, though.
I mean, yes, “Because Ford says so” is technically enough, since they own the brand and can do what they want with it. But the Mach E is just a fundamentally different type of vehicle from the Mustang, and trying to equate the two by tacking a horsey badge and some Mustang-esque taillights onto Ford’s new BEV crossover is some pretty weak tea.
If you ran a company, you’d get to name your products, too. That’s how it works.
I still giggle every time somebody uses my programmed I named “Robusto”
Hey Porsche already sells a Taycan Turbo and it’s a Turbo because Porsche says so ????????♂️
Yeah, but they also sell a car that they do NOT call a “Turbo” even though its engine has two of them, so we can’t really use Porsche as much of a model for anything.
Well technically the only thing that is a PORSCHE is the 911…..
If they rebadged it a 911 Macan, then, I guess it would be.
Didn’t Oldsmobile once claim the Cutlass as the best-selling car on the market by badging almost everything they sold as a Cutlass-something, across several totally different platforms?
Also, Toyota used to love lumping Matrix sales in with the Corolla and Solara sales in with the Camry, even though they were marketed as separate product lines