Saturday, November 02, 2019

Brand Mishandling?

There are two automotive nameplates in Detroit that don't owe their position in the automotive landscape to normal, rational marketing rules: Corvette and Mustang. They have unbroken lines going back to the early Fifties and mid Sixties, respectively, and seem to operate on a weird mixture of nostalgia, brand loyalty, mythos, and 'lifestyle branding' more akin to Harley-Davidson than anything else with four wheels.

Corvette has just made the transition to mid-engine, but that looks to have been handled deftly. Besides, they've been threatening a mid-engine 'Vette since the days of Duntov.

Ford's proposal to broaden the "Mustang" name to also include an electric SUV, though, has a chance of damaging the original pony car more than helping the new crossover. This is the goofiest thing Ford's done since inexplicably (and briefly) reviving the "500" model designator to replace the by then well-established Taurus moniker.

The closest they've come to this with the Mustang in the past was when they were planning on moving the fourth generation Mustang to a Mazda-sourced front wheel drive platform, the one that eventually hit the market as the Probe, and were only dissuaded by sacks of hate mail.