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  • The Ford Mustang is the world's best selling sports coupe.

  • It is a brand some Ford employees consider the soul of the company.

  • It's one of our crown jewels.

  • It is. You couldn't imagine a Ford without Mustang.

  • It has been in continuous production for a half a century and has survived

  • Ford's most difficult times.

  • Originally conceived as a lean, sporty and affordable car aimed at younger

  • people, it has earned a larger than life reputation and has become a

  • symbol of American automotive muscle.

  • But now Ford has put the Mustang name on a vehicle unlike any other in its

  • history. An electric four-door crossover.

  • Like other pure electric vehicles commonly referred to as EVs the Mustang

  • Mach-E runs entirely on electricity stored in batteries.

  • One of the things that I think some of the EVs are missing and one of the

  • things that I believe that we are able to bring with this Mustang is a

  • sense of that that soul that, you know, a lot of these cars don't have

  • that soul to them. They don't they don't have any emotion to them.

  • And the Mustang is all about emotion.

  • Meanwhile, some longtime Mustang fans are said to be up in arms over the

  • new vehicle. But others say that times are changing and data suggests the

  • traditional Mustang and its pony car competitors are facing a dwindling

  • fan base.

  • The Mustang traces its roots back to the 1960s, when Ford executives such

  • as then President Lee Iacocca, product planning executive, Hal Sperlich

  • and others came up with the idea for a small four-seat car that was sporty

  • but functional. The design was heavily influenced by European sports cars

  • from makers such as the British brand, MG.

  • The Mustang debuted at the World's Fair in the spring of 1964, months

  • ahead of the fall season, when automakers typically debuted new models.

  • Nearly 30 million people are thought to have seen the TV commercials on

  • all three U.S.

  • networks that ran the night before.

  • On the day of the unveiling, Ford placed full page ads in 2,600 U.S.

  • newspapers and displayed Mustangs in the lobbies of 200 Holiday Inns and

  • 15 major U.S.

  • airports. It went on sale at the more than 8,100 Ford dealerships across

  • the U.S. the day it was revealed.

  • At a starting price of $2,368 below the $2,500 limit the team

  • had wanted. Only thing about Mustang is making a high performance vehicle

  • that is accessible to all or to many.

  • And that's what Mustang is really all about.

  • It's not about being exclusive.

  • It's about inviting people into what we like to refer to as the "Mustang

  • cult." Over 400,000 units sold in the car's first year, four times what

  • Ford had initially expected to sell.

  • From the very beginning, flexibility was built in as a key feature of the

  • car. The powertrain lineup really spanned a pretty wide range of budgets

  • and tastes and needs.

  • There are plenty people that really just liked the style of it and didn't

  • need to go fast. And then there were those go fast people that, you know,

  • really wanted the hottest engine.

  • It's important. Understand that the original Mustang was a bid by Ford to

  • develop a vehicle that was aimed at young people of the time, young adults

  • of the time. It was really a youth oriented car in its day.

  • This was an American car that could appeal to all sorts of buyers.

  • But soon the car became known as a performance machine.

  • Over the years, Mustang's became extremely popular choices for racing, and

  • it has become common for buyers and drivers to make their own alterations

  • to the car to improve performance.

  • Part of the magic of Mustang was that it was based on very humble

  • underpinnings. I mean, it was it was based on the early 60s, Ford Falcon.

  • You know, you could drop in a whole variety of engines in there and there

  • was plenty of room under the very long hood to add all sorts of power

  • enhancers. So this was a car that was very, very easy for people to work

  • on themselves, for people to add performance parts to.

  • It's those aftermarket tuners and the aftermarket in general that was

  • supporting a rabid demand by young enthusiasts to build very, very

  • personalized personal products that reflected specifically the owner of

  • the vehicle. Mustangs are routinely considered to have some of the best

  • aftermarket support of any sports or performance car on the market.

  • Smaller tuning shops have developed reputations for their own versions of

  • the Mustang. Some of these, such as Saleen and Roush, have become rather

  • legendary names in their own right.

  • Part of what makes Mustang such a strong brand for many of its fans is its

  • sense of continuity.

  • Unlike its closest competitors, the Chevrolet Camaro and Dodge Challenger,

  • the Mustang has remained in continuous production since 1964.

  • Of course, Ford has made some changes to the vehicle over time, and some

  • of those changes have been controversial, especially when Ford has toyed

  • with the Mustang formula to make a greener, more efficient car.

  • In the 1970s, Ford came out with a smaller Mustang called the Mustang II

  • aimed customers worried about fuel economy

  • during a time when gas prices were soaring due to a fuel crisis.

  • The first oil crisis served not only to make gasoline expensive and

  • scarce, but also things like the Clean Air Act resulted in automakers

  • really having to pull back on performance in favor of fuel economy and

  • cleaner emissions. And at the time, the technology just simply didn't

  • exist to make an engine be able to do both.

  • You know, today, you know, nowadays, you know, we have cars that are, you

  • know, extremely clean and produce 600 horsepower.

  • Back then, there was much more of a tradeoff.

  • You could either have something that didn't pollute as much or you could

  • have something that was more powerful, but you really couldn't do both.

  • The downsized car came with a four cylinder engine, though it was

  • well-received in some corners in the automotive world as a car for its

  • time. Other fans reportedly cried foul and the car still inspires

  • arguments among enthusiasts.

  • In 2015, Ford risked the controversy again when it again swapped out a six

  • cylinder engine for a four cylinder EcoBoost engine in its lowest price

  • versions. Ford's newer four cylinder engines pack a lot more power than

  • older versions. But putting the Mustang badge on an electric SUV is

  • perhaps its biggest change.

  • For many fans, an internal combustion engine is just part of what makes a

  • Mustang, a Mustang.

  • In addition, the Mustang has always been a two-door car, but the Mustang

  • Mach-E is a four-door crossover, a very popular configuration that

  • nonetheless arouses the ire of sports car traditionalists.

  • Right? I absolutely think there is a lot of controversy.

  • Mustang is one of the most storied nameplates, not just for Ford, but in

  • the entire industry. So it's absolutely understandable that there's a lot

  • of controversy among Mustang fans and Mustang purists over adding this

  • type of a vehicle to the Mustang family.

  • But what I like to say is that if the Mustang nameplate could withstand

  • the Mustang II, I think they'll be all right.

  • Fans of other performance oriented brands such as Porsche and BMW have

  • howled in the past when those companies introduced their own crossovers or

  • sport utility vehicles.

  • But some industry observers say the Mach-E gives Ford a chance to appeal

  • to a new segment of buyers at a time when enthusiasm for traditional

  • passenger cars is dying out.

  • Mustang may be the best selling car in its segment, but the segment

  • overall is shrinking.

  • Frankly, if you look at sales of the current Mustang, which debuted in

  • 2015, sales have really dropped off a cliff ever since that car debuted.

  • It's not any fault of the car.

  • The current Mustang is actually a fantastic sports coupe.

  • It does a great job of carrying on the Mustang legacy.

  • But consumer interest in two door coupes is just simply not there.

  • It's dropping steadily.

  • Fewer and fewer people are interested in that sort of a car.

  • And frankly, a lot of the people that are interested in a two-door coupe

  • tend to be a lot older.

  • You know, a lot of baby boomers, a lot of empty nesters, which means and

  • suggests that the Mustang name is becoming less and less relevant to

  • younger people nowadays.

  • From the 1980s to the mid 2000s, U.S.

  • Mustang sales regularly hit six-figure volumes.

  • Ford sold almost 174,000 Mustangs to Americans in the year 2000.

  • Volume fell below the six-figure mark from 2008 to 2014.

  • Around the time the U.S.

  • economy went into recession.

  • The next time it broke, 100,000 units in the U.S.

  • was in 2015.

  • The last time it redesigned the car.

  • But sales steadily fell from there to roughly 76,000 units in 2018.

  • Sales of the Mustangs close competitor, the Chevrolet Camaro grew from

  • nearly 62,000 in 2009 to 86,000 in 2014, but have fallen since

  • then to about 51,000 in twenty eighteen.

  • One of the brightest growth stories in the segment has been the Dodge

  • Challenger, which has enticed buyers with its retro looks, a wide range of

  • trims and options and lots of horsepower.

  • Sales of that car grew from 17,000 in 2008 to nearly 67,000 in 2018.

  • That is despite the fact the car did not undergo any major redesign during

  • that entire decade.

  • But those numbers still pale in comparison to the volumes Mustang achieved

  • a few decades ago.

  • And some industry watchers wonder how long the Challenger can sustain its

  • growth. In fact, some data indicate the Mustang name has far greater

  • notoriety than Mustang sales would suggest.

  • Mustang always is the number number five most shopped car that's behind

  • Camry, Corolla, Civic, Accord.

  • And you know, you know, it's not the fifth selling best car in America.

  • But but it does generate a ton of shopping consideration.

  • It's an aspirational vehicle.

  • And so they're capitalizing on that.

  • The name is also widely known outside the U.S.

  • We have as many Mustang clubs, nearly as many Mustang clubs outside of the

  • United States as we have inside the United States.

  • So this product has been loved globally, even though it wasn't offered as

  • a product globally until the 2015 Mustang, when it was truly a global

  • offering from Ford Motor Companies.

  • The idea of what a performance car can or even ought to be is changing.

  • People have found that, you know, you don't need a sporty car to

  • necessarily be limited to two-doors.

  • There are so many four-door vehicles out there that give you much more

  • everyday functionality and ease of use without sacrificing performance.

  • So performance is absolutely not dead.

  • I mean, you look out in the marketplace right now and I mean, if anything,

  • there, you know, there is a major horsepower war going on right now, but

  • there are by and large not involving two-door cars.

  • We all need our cars to be multi-functional, to be able to carry people,

  • to be able to carry cargo.

  • Frankly, that's one of the core reasons why SUVs have gained in popularity

  • so much. You know, over the years.

  • Rising electric vehicle maker Tesla built its business in part by creating

  • electric cars with sleek designs that can deliver high performance that

  • match or beat cars with gasoline engines.

  • Somewhat like Tesla does with its cars, Ford is emphasizing the mock ease

  • performance specs.

  • There will be two performance versions a G.T.

  • that Ford said should go from 0 to 60 miles per hour in under four seconds

  • and a G.T. performance edition, which will deliver 0 to 60 acceleration in

  • the mid three second range.

  • The whole program started in its very early stages as sort of a compliance

  • product. It was something that we felt, you know, hey, we should we need

  • to start looking at this. We need to figure out how we're going to meet

  • these regulations that are on top of us.

  • And very quickly, this thing started to become something that we realized

  • it wasn't something that was going to be an amazing machine or something

  • that was gonna be desirable.

  • So we scratched those plans and went back to the drawing board and said,

  • "how do we do something that will inspire and be exciting?"

  • The Mach-E can be updated to an unprecedented degree for a Ford vehicle

  • via over the air software updates, a technique Tesla is credited with

  • pioneering. Even the Mach-E cabin, with its large vertical touchscreen,

  • bears some resemblance to those found in Tesla models such as the Model S

  • and Model X.

  • But Tesla is by no means the only target.

  • Many in the industry point out that when it comes to high performance,

  • electric cars simply have certain fundamental advantages over those that

  • run on gasoline.

  • We know it is the future and you kind of just look at it the same way that

  • many of other technologies have died off.

  • People, you know, they pooh-poohed electronic fuel injection when

  • carbonation was around. So I could do to myself, I could do whatever I

  • want. Look at it nowadays, right.

  • Like there's no such thing as carburetor cars on the road.

  • And several brands with strong racing and performance heritages are also

  • going electric. Jaguar, Porsche, Mercedes, BMW and others are all

  • developing performance vehicles with electric power trains.

  • Ford also stresses that it is not abandoning its more traditional

  • Mustangs, including those with V8 engines.

  • While those vehicles are very much a part of our future and consistent

  • with Mustang throughout the years now, right, we've always had special

  • editions that is not going to stop.

  • And there's stuff that you need to just stay tuned on because we've got

  • we've got some things that we'll be sharing in the near future here.

  • But another question that remains for the Mach-E is how badly customers

  • actually want electric cars.

  • Despite improvements in battery technology and charging speeds, buyers

  • still seem reluctant to make the switch.

  • Virtually all the major OEMs are working on big dollar E.V.

  • projects right now.

  • They're all gonna be launching in the next few years.

  • However, according to AutoPacific's own data, demand for a full electric

  • car has hovered between 3 to 4 percent over the last 10 years.

  • What that suggests is that we really may have a situation where where

  • supply drastically outstrips demand.

  • The Mach-E is an example of a relatively new strategy.

  • Carmakers are using to lure buyers, touting their practical advantages as

  • much as their environmental benefits.