Ford Mustang Mach-E Surprises Europe With Strong Sales

Ford Mustang Mach-E Surprises Europe With Strong Sales

Ford’s first and successful venture into the European electric car market with its Mustang Mach-E SUV has surprised experts, who now are looking for a step up in commitment for success in the wider, mass market.

In the overall European electric market, VW leads followed by Tesla

TSLA
, with Ford way down the pecking order. Ford Motor in the U.S. has big global ambitions, calling for annual overall battery-only vehicle sales of 600,000 within the next 2 years, including the F-150 Lightning pickup and the E-Transit van. Ford CEO Jim Farley has said the company expects to triple output of the Mustang Mach-E to over 200,000 a year by 2023.

In the medium-priced SUV segment in Europe, the Mustang Mach-E is fighting it out with among others the Volkswagen ID.4, the recently launched in Europe Tesla Model Y, the Hyundai Ioniq 5 and SAIC Motor of China’s MG ZS, and given the vehicle is more of a stopgap than an electric technology leader, its success wasn’t a given. Car buyers see it as very well equipped and priced compared with the opposition, with a more aggressive and dynamic design.

“It is for sure a good start for the brand in the EV world. However, it is not enough and Ford needs to accelerate its electrification,” said Felipe Munoz, global automotive analyst at JATO Dynamics.

“The Fiesta and Focus (small and family-sized internal combustion engine (ICE) models) are showing big sales drops, and consumers are looking for electric small cars too. Ford still does not have them,” Munoz said.

No other European mass vehicle maker has a competitive all-electric car at the lower price end of the market yet, and as ICE models are squeezed out by European Union (EU) legislation demanding fewer emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2), not to mention outright bans by Britain, this remains a segment of the market that will be prone to plunder by Chinese companies. The lower end of the market, for cars priced at €10,000 ($11,300) after tax or less, is currently supplied by gasoline models like the Citroen C1 or Dacia Sandero. New electric cars will need to be available to meet needs of the average wage earning European.  

Meanwhile, the Mach-E’s late-entry is paying dividends for Ford, according to German-based auto analyst Matt Schmidt said

“The Mach-E was likely a desperate lurch from Ford, to react quickly to Tesla bringing the Model Y to market, which appears to be paying off handsomely. It was also likely due to regulatory reasons in Europe/China, although in Europe the PHEV (plug-in hybrid electric vehicle) with the Kuga (SUV) was a key tool for CO2 compliance too. Based on adapted ICE engineering the Mustang Mach E is more evolutionary rather than revolutionary,” said Schmidt, who publishes the monthly European Electric Cars Flash Report

Schmidt points out Ford’s electric collaboration deal with Volkswagen means over the next 5 years it will make a family-sized car in Europe using VW technology, and indicates Ford still has distance to make up with leaders in this part of the electric car field.

According to Schmidt’s report, Ford sold over 20,000 Mach-Es in Western Europe through November this year, although the recently launched Model Y is already just 2,000 behind. Schmidt said Ford made a solid decision opting to enter the electric market with an SUV, which accounted for 1 in every 2 electric vehicle sales this year in Western Europe.

JATO Dynamics’ Munoz said through November the Mach-E outsold the EQA from Mercedes and was the third best-selling SUV behind the VW ID.4 and VW’s Skoda Enyaq.

VW’s huge investment in electric cars, it recently committed to producing 4 million additional battery-powered vehicles in the next decade and said it would spend €33 billion ($37 billion) on electric mobility in the next four years, means it is already at the top of the electric rankings in Europe and should continue there in the next 5 years, according to Munoz.

“Tesla will also play an important role, probably the 2nd in Europe, depending on how competitive the little hatch will be when they launch it in 2023/2024. VW and Tesla will be followed by one big European, Renault or Stellantis, and then we will have the Koreans. The German premiums (BMW, Mercedes, VW’s Audi and Porsche) will dominate the premium segments, as they do now,” Munoz said.

Tesla is expected to launch a smaller car in a couple of years with a starting price of about $25,000, although this hasn’t been confirmed.

Munoz reiterates average earners await the launch of a truly affordable little electric car which European manufacturers are inhibited from producing because of EU rules which favour more expensive electric cars.

If this problem isn’t remedied, European car makers will pay a huge price.

“I think that the Chinese makers will cover the entry segments if the European authorities don’t do anything to change the current regulation. (Entry level segments) will become too expensive and non-profitable under the current conditions, but there will be millions of consumers that can’t afford the cars from the upper segments. China will use this potential scenario as an opportunity to bring its more competitive cars,” Munoz said.

I recently road-tested the Ford Mustang Mach-E Standard, which retails in Britain at £42,530 ($56,700) after tax and before government subsidies. This base version has rear-wheel drive and a 68-kWh battery. Ford claims battery range of 273 miles, but my home charger averaged 224.8 miles. Thanks to an effective regenerative braking system the Mach-E is very efficient in urban and rural driving, but typically poor when it comes to cruising legally on fast highways. The Mach-E lost indicated range at a 36.2% rate, roughly comparable to the Jaguar I-Pace and the MG ZS, but much better than the Polestar 2’s 59%, according to my data.

Ford Mustang Mach-E Standard

Power – 265 hp

Battery – 68 kWh lithium-ion

Combined energy consumption – claimed 17.2 kWh per 100 km

Claimed range – 273 miles (WLTP)

WintonsWorld Test – 224.8 miles (average of 6 charges, 17% shortfall)

Acceleration 0-60 mph 6.7 seconds

Top speed – 111 mph