Now that the specs of the Ford Mustang Mach E have been leaked (we got them as well but decided to follow the rules and not leak them), most articles are interested in how it compares to the Model Y. Looking at the price, range, zero to sixty times, and cargo space, it is obvious that these specs are all very comparable. I don’t think people will be making their decision of which crossover to buy based on 10 miles of range, a small difference in price, or a tenth of a second in zero-to-sixty times. It’s going to be other items that differentiate the two cars and determine which one people are more comfortable with and decide to buy. Instead of listing all the ways the cars are similar, I’m going to list the ways they are different.
1. Dealer vs. Online with assistance from a showroom. Some people actually like the traditional model of negotiating and buying through a dealer. Many others prefer to buy a car online.
2. Customer Marketing. Many people get their info on what cars are available through TV, radio, and newspaper ads. Those people are going to hear more things about the Mach E than the Tesla. Others like to get their news on blogs, YouTube, and Twitter, and those are areas where Tesla has dominated.
3. Safety. The new Mustang hasn’t been tested yet, but Ford has no 2019 Top Safety + picks in its entire lineup, while Tesla just added this honor to its long list of safety awards.
4. Full Self Driving. Ford will have the standard lane keeping and traffic-aware cruise control (TACC) features that everyone in the industry has now, but only Tesla plans to have Full Self Driving, which means most trips in most places can be done from starting point to destination without human help (but with driver oversight). This should be available by the end of this year in Tesla vehicles, well before the first Model Y is delivered.
5. Software Updates. Ford has a plan to update some features in 2020 over the air (OTA), but since many of its subsystems come from vendors and are not connected or controlled by a central computer, it is unlikely Ford’s updates will be anywhere near comparable to Tesla’s OTA updates.
6. Service. Ford will have a much wider dealer network able to provide service at its 3,000 dealers in the US, while Tesla will have its super convenient mobile service — if it is available in your area.
7. Interior. Although we haven’t seen the Mustang’s interior yet, I’m confident that it will be different from the minimalist Model 3 and Y interior. Each interior will have its fans. One isn’t better than the other — they both have advantages and disadvantages.
8. Geekiness. Ford has 55 years of Mustang history to draw on. Tesla has its somewhat cult-like (that is both good and bad) followers. Customers will be naturally drawn to one or the other.
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The Ford Mustang Mach E is an impressive car, and as I predict in this article, it’s going to be a big hit. Many think its success will cause it to take sales from Tesla, the undisputed leader of electric cars today. It is true that the Mustang Mach E will help Ford capture some customers who would have otherwise defected to Tesla. The Detroit automaker may even capture a few trade-ins of Tesla vehicles as trophies. But the vast majority of sales will be either from existing Ford customers or from manufactures like Toyota, Honda, GM, and Chrysler who don’t have a competitive crossover. Tesla, with its more exclusive image, will capture some of those same customers, but also gain many from the luxury crossovers dominated by Lexus, BMW, Mercedes, Infinity, and Acura.
As you can see in the above points, there are a lot of differences between the Ford Mustang Mach E and the Tesla Model Y that will mean that although some people, like me, will consider buying both cars, many will be predisposed to one car or the other. I expect both cars to be very successful and to take a lot of market share from the many manufactures that don’t have an affordable electric crossover available in volume (that is, everyone else in most markets).
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