Why Ford is keeping its Mustang gas-powered as part of its electric vehicle push

Why Ford is keeping its Mustang gas-powered as part of its electric vehicle push

Ford Chairman Bill Ford and Chairman and CEO Jim Farley chat in front of the newly revealed Mustang Dark Horse at The Stampede in downtown Detroit on September 14, 2022.


DETROIT – Ford Motor CEO Jim Farley was in his element Wednesday night, surrounded by fans of Gears and the automaker’s new 2024 Mustang models, including a surprise new high-performance version called “Dark Horse “.

There was no discussion of electric vehicles or sustainability during the Detroit Auto Show presentation. Just revving engines and screeching tires, to the applause of the hundreds of Mustang owners in attendance.

The scene played out in stark contrast to other recent events for Farley and Ford, which have touted electrification and green goals. That’s because, despite the transition to electric vehicles, Mustang is sticking with gasoline engines for the seventh-generation vehicle in 2024.

That may come as a surprise, given Ford’s plans to invest $50 billion in new electric vehicles in the coming years, as well as expected plans for the Dodge Challenger and Chevrolet Camaro, the Mustang’s biggest rivals, to become electrical.

So why did Ford stick with gasoline engines for the new vehicle? Farley said, essentially, because he could… and because it makes good business sense for the foreseeable future.

Lone survivor?

The Ford Mustang could be in a segment of its own for years to come, forcing those still thirsty for an American muscle car coupe to come to the brand. That includes customers outside the US, which account for about 20% of Mustang sales.

“People are leaving the segment, like Dodge, so we have an opportunity to really introduce something new about the Mustang,” Farley said after the debut of the 2024 Mustang. “This will give us a huge advantage because a lot of people still love this guy.” of car”.

2024 Ford Mustang dark horse

Source: Ford

While the American muscle car segment has shrunk from what it once was, there is still demand for the vehicles, which may also bring attention and new customers to their respective brands.

As Ford invests in electric vehicles, Farley says the automaker will continue to invest in its traditional business. He is part of the CEO’s new plan to increase sales in its traditional businesses, electric vehicles and commercial vehicles.

Farley and Ford Chairman Bill Ford declined to say whether the seventh-generation Mustang is expected to be the last version of the gas-powered car.

“If people don’t want them anymore, it will go away, but I personally think people will want this vehicle for quite some time,” Ford said, adding that “that day will come with tears in their eyes.”

Mach E

Farley said one of the main reasons Ford is continuing with gas-powered Mustangs is, ironically, the success of the Mustang Mach-E, an all-electric crossover that first went on sale in late 2020 and actually topped in sales to the gasoline version for a few years. months.

The Mach-E, which shares little to nothing with the gas-powered Mustang other than a name, has led Ford to become the second best-selling electric vehicle brand in the country.

That success of electric vehicles has given the automaker more flexibility to go ahead with gasoline models, compared to rival automakers that have to chase electric vehicle sales and the regulatory emission credits granted by them. .

Automakers are required to have a certain number of statutory credits each year. If a company cannot meet the target, it can buy the credits from other companies, such as Tesla, that have excess credits.

“The Mustang Mach-E, in a way, created, allowed this car to happen,” Farley said. “Competitors are buying emissions credits and they can’t get away with this type of vehicle.”

US President Joe Biden stands next to a Ford Mustang Mach-E (electric) SUV during a visit to the Detroit Auto Show, to highlight electric vehicle manufacturing in America, in Detroit, Michigan on March 14. September 2022.

Kevin Lamarques | Reuters

Dodge has said such emissions regulations are among the reasons it will end production of its gasoline-powered Charger and Challenger by the end of next year. Chevrolet is expected to end production of the gas-powered Chevy Camaro in the next few years as part of General Motors’ plans to exclusively offer electric vehicles by 2035.

A spokesman for Dodge, a division of Stellantis, said in announcing the electric muscle cars that the company is “celebrating the end of an era and the beginning of a bright new electrified future.”

A Chevrolet spokesman said the company would not comment on future production, but added: “Camaro continues to play an important role in Chevrolet’s lineup of performance cars and remains an in-demand vehicle that our customers love.” .

Ford’s biggest rival, GM, which is in the process of phasing out its gasoline-powered products, aims to better compete against Tesla, the leader in electric vehicle sales.

Meanwhile, Farley said he wants to grow his traditional business through “opinion products” that attract discussion and attention like the 2024 Mustang, including the new “Dark Horse” variant.

“I had a t-shirt at the dealer show that said ‘Ford vs Everybody.’ That’s our attitude,” Farley said. “We want to be a dark horse. We are a dark horse against Tesla in the electric vehicle business. We want to bring a new game.”

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