Imagine getting 40 customers in one night for a vehicle that starts at $43,895 and reaches $60,500.
Steve Fuentes did.
“And we’re up to 100 reservations now,” he said. “The Mustang Mach-E has had a tremendous positive response. This is one of the biggest game changers we’ve ever had.”
The owner of Sunnyvale Ford in the heart of Silicon Valley raved about response to the 2021 Mustang Mach-E SUV at a dealership located just blocks from Tesla, the rival high-profile electric carmaker led by controversial CEO Elon Musk. “I just think the market is ripe and it’s ready for something other than Tesla. Our all-electric SUV with a 300 mile range is super cool and functional.”
Fuentes noted that the high-efficiency vehicle will allow drivers to use special commuter lanes in the notoriously congested West Coast highways. “It’s like the e-ticket at Disneyland,” he said.
More than one in four buyers of the now sold-out first edition version of the Mach-E lives in California.
Yet response from other parts of America to the vehicle has been immediate.
Tom Nardone, 49, an entrepreneur from Birmingham, Michigan, placed his $500 reservation for a base model 2021 Mustang Mach-E with all-wheel drive within hours of watching the unveiling on YouTube. “I’m interested in efficiency. I like the idea of a Tesla but I don’t trust Tesla. I would’ve bought a Chevrolet Bolt but it wasn’t very attractive. Right now I’m driving a 2020 Camry hybrid. I love it. This new vehicle will replace my wife’s 2017 Dodge Journey.”
Mike Van Camp, 36, an industrial metal fabrication contractor from Schereville, Indiana, chose the Mustang Mach-E GT nearly two decades after buying a 2001 GT yellow convertible. “I was looking for something sporty and considered getting a Jeep Gladiator. But this, it’s the first of its kind and I can say I was there when it first came out.”
Anne Thimm, 58, a retired analyst from Alexandria, Virginia, laughs when she talks about her love of Mustang.
“Back in 2001, the Mustang Bullitt came out and I just fell in love with that car. I walked into a Ford dealership and the guy said to me, ‘Honey, don’t you think that’s a little too much for you?’ Like, really? I was just floored. I was ready to pay cash for that car. So I walked right out and went to another Ford dealership 15 miles down the road and got my Bullitt. I loved that car.”
She sadly parted with the Mustang to transport her four dogs.
“I mourn that car every day,” Thimm said. “Now we can get a Mustang to haul our dogs and also have electric. When I saw the Mach-E, I thought, ‘Oh my God, it checks all our boxes.’ It’s fun and it has plenty of room.”
Soon she will replace her Toyota Highlander hybrid with a first edition red Mach-E.
Matt Stanford, general manager at Varsity Ford in Ann Arbor, said he has totaled 70 orders for the Mach-E already.
“And I actually ordered one for myself, a black GT,” he confessed. “I have professors who have ordered, doctors, Ford employees, folks looking for an answer to the combustible engine — people concerned about their carbon footprint. I’ve got folks in their mid-20s all the way up to their late 60s.”
This is new territory for Ford, said Stanford, whose uncles founded the dealership and whose family members sell cars. “Ford, instead of sticking its toe in the pool, jumped completely into the deep end. Tesla has owned the market. Tesla is just killing it. There’s a sexiness to the Tesla vehicle. It’s a status symbol, almost a way of life for some people. It’s a sleek, nice looking car. So Ford’s going at ’em.”
First editions are selling mostly in Carbonized Gray at 38 percent, Grabber Blue Metallic at 35 percent and Rapid Red at 27 percent. More than 80 percent of U.S. customers are reserving Mach-E with an extended range battery. About 55 percent are buying all-wheel drive. Almost 30 percent are choosing the top-model GT.
The Dearborn automaker doesn’t reveal the number of first editions sold but does note that the company has promised only 50,000 Mach-E vehicles that will be sold for the first 12 months in the U.S., Canada and Europe, and then other markets including China, Ford spokeswoman Emma Bergg confirmed.
There are four other trim levels besides the first edition. A potential tax credit of $7,500 will be applied to the prices below:
— Select, from $43,895
— Premium, from $50,600
— First Edition, from $59,900
— California Route 1, from $52,400
— GT from $60,500
While some Mustang aficionados freaked out when Ford announced the iconic pony car’s name would be used on an SUV, many Mustang collectors loved the idea.
“I own a silver 2005 Mustang GT,” Nardone said. “I’m dying to get rid of that Mustang. It gets 12 miles to the gallon. This electric Mustang is going to be quicker than my Mustang GT. “
Van Camp, who drives a 2017 Ford Explorer for work, has been searching for years for the right car and all-electric didn’t play a key role in his decision. “I was definitely dead set on buying a Mustang and after I saw the Mach-E, I definitely knew I wanted that Mustang.
“It’ll probably be an evening car, a weekend car. There’s still a little trepidation about taking it on road trips. I’m anxious to see where the charging stations will be. They don’t pinpoint a lot around my area yet; I’m just outside Chicago. But I know I can go back and forth from my house to Blackhawks games because they have charging stations in their parking lot.”
With energy efficiency top of mind, now Van Camp is considering the idea of installing solar panels at his business, Van’s Industrial.
Carla Bailo, CEO of the Center for Automotive Research in Ann Arbor, said she’s not surprised by the rapid response to the hot new electric vehicle.
“We’re starting to see a new era in EVs,” she said. “They’re being seen as performance vehicles now. They really get off the line fast. They have great acceleration. Because of that, you’re getting kind of an enthusiast culture around EVs. Initially when they came out, it was more about the green side of things and saving the environment. Now this is being marketed as a performance vehicle.”
Fuentes said the potential for Ford can’t be overstated.
“This Mustang Mach-E is going to be so impactful,” he said. “If we’re getting this kind of response, and it’s a year away, you can only imagine and have to believe that this is the second coming of the original Mustang.”
While America is responding with enthusiasm, consumers in the Golden State continue to lead the way.
“California has been on the environmental forefront for decades and Californians are on the leading edge of electric vehicles,” said Mike Levine, Ford North America product communications manager. “Ford is committed to bring EVs to market that are exciting and meet the needs of California and the rest of the U.S. as well as customers around the world.”