Mustang Mach-E: Does Ford Have the Right Idea by Using Familiar Names?

Most automakers decided on brand new names for electric vehicles, something that wouldn’t be confused with another car in the lineup. However, Ford went the other way. Ford decided to call the first fully electric vehicle the Mustang Mach-E. Was using a familiar name such as Mustang a good idea?

The Ford Mustang Mach-E electric vehicle

The Ford Mustang Mach-E at a show
Mustang Mach-E: Does Ford have the right idea by naming EVs after familiar vehicles? | Sven Hoppe/picture alliance via Getty Images

When Ford announced the Mustang Mach-E at first, people thought the vehicle would be an electric Mustang. For good reason, though. Why did Ford decide to name the brand new EV the Mustang Mach-E? According to an article by Road and Track, there was a good reason. Jason Castriota, Ford’s global brand director for battery electric vehicles, said the brand was trying to make big moves with the Mach-E.

In fact, he called it a double leap. “So not only are we going to make an electric Mustang, but an electric SUV Mustang,” Castriota told Road and Track. That was easier said than done. In order to stand out, Castriota said the company had to figure out a way to enter the market that other companies might have been overlooking.

Upon analyzing the problem, the people at Ford decided that the new EV needed to be a Mustang. By choosing to use the Mustang name, it made the Mach-E a sort of extension of the Mustang family. It wasn’t just a car in the lineup anymore, but more of an umbrella term.

The Ford Mustang club was skeptical of the Mustang Mach-E

RELATED: Ford Mustang Mach-E: What Is the Range for This Electric Vehicle?

There are some Mustang-esque features on the Mach-E such as the headlights, shape of the hood, and tri-bar sequential headlights. Castriota notes that when he went to present the Mustang Mach-E to the presidents of the Mustang club, the group was skeptical at first. But by the end of the presentation, the idea made a bit more sense.

“They understood that we’re not taking away anything they love. This is another steed in the stable.”

Jason Castriota | Ford

So it seems to have been a successful idea. The Mustang Mach-E has been a big seller for Ford, especially for being an electric vehicle. But Castriota notes this idea isn’t universally applicable. For instance, a Mustang pickup isn’t in the works anytime soon. As far as the Mach-E goes, through, the zaney idea seems to have paid off.

The Ford F-150 Lightning, Volkswagen ID.4, Nissan Leaf, and Chevy Bolt

Using sales data from GoodCarBadCar, let’s compare the sales of hybrid and electric vehicles with a stereotypical EV name. In 2020, the Nissan Leaf sold 9,559 units. For 2021, the Nissan Leaf sold 10,073 units. The Chevy Bolt sold 20,753 in 2020 and 24,803 in 2021. The Volkswagen ID.4 sold 12,281 so far in 2021. Right now, the Ford Mustang Mach-E sold 17,277 units.

By looking at the numbers, there probably isn’t enough data to correlate success or failure of the idea yet. However, it certainly doesn’t look to have negatively impacted sales.

Ford did a similar thing with the Ford F-150 Lightning. It took the well-known F-150 moniker and slapped Lighning on the end to differentiate that it is an EV. Instead of just calling it something electric vehicle sounding, the company used a familiar truck name and added a qualifier to make it different. Not a bad idea, Ford.

RELATED: How Much Does It Cost to Charge a Ford Mustang Mach-E?