Before settling on calling the Mach-E electric crossover a Mustang, the team in charge of the project had to get approval from a man who allegedly owns 35 Mustangs, executive chairman Bill Ford.
Apparently, this process didn’t exactly go as smoothly as some might have hoped, with Ford hesitant to risk hurting the Mustang brand name by associating it with an eco-friendly zero-emissions compact family hauler, reports Autonews Europe.
“I certainly wasn’t sold at the beginning – far from it,” said Ford. “They came to me and said, ‘We really think we can make this Mustang-inspired, really Mustang-like.’ I said, ‘You guys aren’t telling me you want to call this a Mustang.’ No one would say yes, but nobody would say no, either. I said ‘No, I’m sorry, I don’t want to hurt the brand. This is not going to be a Mustang.'”
Still, the team knew that in order for the Mach-E to be really successful, it could definitely use the cachet of the Mustang name, and so they kept insisting on the matter. Jim Farley, Ford’s president of new business, technology and strategy, described the meeting where his team put all of their cards on the table.
“Bill came in the room, we had all the information, we had a really open discussion with him. We had to prove to him it has all the substance of a Mustang.”
The team ultimately argued that the Mach-E’s GT performance variant would put down 459 HP and 612 lb-ft of torque, accelerating as hard as a Porsche 911 GTS. It was these numbers that intrigued Bill Ford, making him want to drive the prototype.
“When I drove it, I knew it had to be a Mustang,” he said. “Frankly, I was getting there before because I believed the team when they were laying all the specs out. As it evolved and I started to see the performance characteristics, not just the 0 to 60, but the handling dynamics, the driving dynamics and the styling kept evolving, at some point I realized: Yeah, this is a Mustang. The pony could go on the grille.”
Farley added that Ford’s decision allowed the team to move forward with the project, which was huge seen as how they were already under a condensed time frame.
“He’s a smart guy,” said Farley. “Driving is believing. After he got out it was double thumbs-up.”