Ford Was Caught Off Guard by Mustang Mach-E GT’s Popularity
CEO Jim Farley says Ford didn’t properly anticipate the interest in the 480-hp Mach-E GT, which led to production headaches.
Regardless of what you think about the Mustang Mach-E, it has been a fantastic foray into electrification for Ford. And by the looks of it, the upcoming performance trim, the Mach-E GT, is lining up to be another speedy hit. In fact, demand for the electrified pony car SUV has been so strong that it even surprised the highest of ranks at the Blue Oval.
Speaking to our own Kyle Cheromcha at Monterey Car Week, Ford CEO Jim Farley reflected on the launch of the Mach-E as a whole, admitting that the automaker simply wasn't ready for the interest in the maxed-out trim because it set up a reservation system too late in the game. A couple of years ago, that might not have been an issue. But in these times of supply shortages and crunches, it led to some production headaches.
[Editor’s note: The Drive recently interviewed Ford CEO Jim Farley, a full transcript of which can be found here. This is one of several accompanying stories we’re publishing to highlight the most newsworthy details from the conversation.]
"We didn’t have the right spec levels, the GT was much more popular than we thought," said Farley. "We couldn’t react. It was like, the marketing team could, but the industrial system that creates the physical product, and the software team—they didn’t like, get the memo of this demand."
The Mach-E outsold the actual Mustang back in June, which is a big feat in itself. Starting at $61,000 (including destination), the Mach-E GT is a performance bargain to families that need something with four doors, but also want a bit of zest in crossovers and life. All-wheel-drive, 480-horsepower, and enough electric torque to hit 60 mph in as little as 3.8 seconds.
"We couldn’t impact the commercialization, couldn’t buy batteries at the higher level," said Farley, noting the picture is different for the F-150 Lightning. Lesson learned: promptly and properly gauging buyer interest gave the automaker a headstart on increasing its overall battery capacity and stocking up on key components.
"But probably the biggest [lesson learned] is vertical integration. We need to be involved in battery production, we can’t just buy batteries," he added.
The Mach-E offers a combination of rear- and all-wheel-drive models, along with two different battery packs of varying usable capacity. This allows consumers to mix and match their desired motor configuration along with either a standard 68-kilowatt-hour battery pack or 88 kWh, depending on the trim, of course.
Production capacity may be a moot point in the near future for the Blue Oval, however. Ford announced a stateside venture with SK Innovation earlier this year that would allow it to join the ranks of Tesla, General Motors, and Volkswagen who have all taken the same route of in-house battery production. Ford's battery capacity demand is estimated to be equal to Volkswagen's at 240 GWh by 2030.
Ford claims that non-reservation orders for the Mach-E GT will begin hitting dealer lots in late 2021, barring any pandemic-related production delays. Meanwhile, its Premium-trimmed variant (which can also be had with an Extended Range battery pack) is also backlogged for an estimated 24 weeks.
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