By Ben Norman
Mustang Mach-E: automobile abomination, or the genius of spending brand equity?
Only a handful of vehicles can conjure up the raw emotion to make a grown adult weak at the knees, just with a name. The Ford Mustang is one of them. So much so that the name itself represents far more more than 4 wheels. Instead the Mustang is a dream and an ambition, it’s tough, masculine and heroic, with the rumble of that V8 engine uttering ‘I’m here, I made it.’ Aside from Harley Davidson, no other brand represents freedom and the open road to so many people across the globe.

But for us Brits this has always been a stateside dream. The American muscle car of muscle cars that we saw (and heard) on our TV screens for decades, whilst settling for our Cortinas and Escorts, because unfortunately that big old V8 engine is to the Mustang, and the American muscle car dream, what Yorkshire puddings are to beef this side of the pond. So it’s simply not feasible to run one over here.

As a result of this harsh reality, which has kept the Mustang as an arms length dream, the brand (not Ford, but Mustang itself) has matured like a fine bourbon for 50 years – unadulterated by the misgivings of reality. It exists beyond Ford now, even carrying its own iconic galloping mustang badge and a completely unique design language from any other Ford.

But therein lies the problem:

How do you make money from this incredible asset if the Mustang will never sell in big numbers as a V8 in the UK and nobody wants one with the (actually pretty good) 4 cylinder option (because ‘it’s just not a mustang without the V8’?) Plus, it sits so far outside of the Ford range that there’s little halo effect from this flagship anomaly?

Well you already know the answer: you spend that brand equity on a car that makes sense. There’s so much discussion about building equity in a brand, but very little about spending it.

Yes the mustang Mach-E will devalue the Mustang brand, it sort of pours cold water all over that muscle car dream, it steals the badge and design language to create some strange looking crossover type electric monstrosity which is nothing short of complete genius. Whilst other brands are creating funky pseudo-futuristic toy cars which nobody can take seriously to launch into the electric space, Ford are drawing down on their most valuable asset to create a car which almost everybody (except a handful of muscle car purists) will happily stick on their drive.