Ford has just reported February sales (it’s one of the only automakers that still reports monthly sales in the USA), and the headline news is that the Mustang Mach-E had nearly 4,000 sales in its first full month on the market. Score!
Ford even led the sales report with a picture of the new Mustang Mach-E. (For anyone who thinks Ford isn’t behind it Team Edison electrification crew and a transition to electric vehicles, let’s call this Exhibit C.)
If Ford could consistently sell 4,000 Mustang Mach-E electric vehicles per month, that would total nearly 50,000 per year — in the US alone. That is not a bad start for Ford, but I do hope that it has bigger plans. The Mustang Mach-E has a starting price of $42,895, but Ford buyers can still get a $7,500 federal tax credit on the Mach-E — even without Congress and Biden expanding and extending the tax credit. That brings the “base price” down to $35,395. Remember that it really wasn’t that long ago that there were no long-range electric vehicles on the road at that price, and then the Tesla Model 3 hit the market and became one of the country’s top selling cars. At a post-subsidy price of $35,395, the Mustang Mach-E — which is in the extremely popular crossover class — could be a truly high-volume seller. The old-school Mustang coupe saw 5,653 sales last month, and I think the Mustang Mach-E could easily pass that up with a little step on the torque by auto dealers, Ford’s production team, and good ol’ American marketing — especially with all the aging knees in the US of A.
As you may have seen, we had a Mustang Mach-E for a week here on Florida’s better coast. I couldn’t believe the responses it got in parking lots in the area — people were in love with it and many more people than I expected knew what it was and were aware it was brand new to the market. With a Tesla Model 3 as my daily driver, I haven’t seen this kind of enthusiasm and head-turning for years — Teslas are like Toyotas in this area. So, the Mustang Mach-E interest was surprising and uplifting. It showed that there’s a lot of interest in EVs beyond the Tesla brand.
My first-take review of the Mustang Mach-E (which Ford CEO Jim Farley surprisingly retweeted) didn’t focus on specs like range and acceleration, because I realized such a focus would miss the point. The Mustang Mach-E has all that it really needs in terms of range and acceleration, the basic requirements of an acceptable EV. However, the real selling point is its style. It is a vehicle that people can fall in love with — many people. An automobile is about much more than getting from A to B, and about much more than driving range between charges or 0–60 mph times. An automobile is about identity, culture, and style. The Mustang Mach-E offers so much in those regards that I honestly have trouble imagining that it won’t be a big hit.
Another hot metric from Ford’s press release is this one: “Nearly 70 percent of Mach-E orders are from competitive brands.” That’s BIG. One of the most important things an automaker targets is “conquest sales” (pulling buyers from other brands). Many buyers are very brand loyal, so conquest sales are tough. And conquest sales are what offer the opportunity to grow your sales and become a bigger player in the market. Nearly 70% conquest sales is a stunning metric, and a great sign for Ford. (Note: It hits me here, as I put on my investment hat, that I should disclose that I hold a small number of shares of Ford [NYSE:F] — but I offer no investment advice of any sort.)
Burying the lede quite a bit, though, I’ll say that the figure that excites me the most about the Ford Mustang Mach-E’s first full month of sales is this one: “just over one-fifth were sold in California.” In my opinion, this is great news for one big reason. It means that Ford is selling the Mustang Mach-E well beyond California. It’s easy to sell EVs in California, it’s basically necessary to sell EVs in California, and I have no real concern about long-term Mustang Mach-E consumer demand in California. On the other hand, almost no one sells electric vehicles in states outside of California and there are large dealer challenges to doing so. If 80% of Mustang Mach-E sales are outside of California, that tells me that there is vast, broad demand for Ford’s breakout electric vehicle, that auto dealers around the country will offer and happily sell the vehicle, and that Ford has a bright future.
Of course, we’ll need a lot more data to sustain this early enthusiasm. February sales could be from pent-up demand, gung-ho dealer purchases that may fizzle, or other factors that are not sustainable. We’ll see. But better to start with a bang than with a slow drizzle, and considering that the top selling non-Tesla EV in the United States last year was the Chevy Bolt EV at 20,754 sales, the potential for more than double that from the Mustang Mach-E is appealing.
What do you think? Can the Ford Mustang Mach-E reach 50,000 sales a year in the United States? Or 100,000? Or was this breakout month a result of pent-up demand, a buildup of supply before launch, and a peak that we’ll roll downhill from? Also, do you see the Mustang Mach-E selling well broadly, far beyond California, or were these initial sales an oddity that will be long forgotten by mid-2021?
For more on this new electric model, I recommend the following articles (3 of which were tweeted/retweeted by CEO Farley):
- Ford Mustang Mach-E — 1st Impressions
- Ford Mustang Mach-E — 1st Impressions, Take Two!
- Ford Mustang Mach-E 1st Drive Review, Take 3! It’s Not A Tesla, & That’s Good
- Ford Mustang Mach-E — 230 To 300 Mile Range For $35,395, $39,500, Or $42,300 (After Tax Credit)
- The Ford Mustang Mach-E Naming Controversy May Have A Silver Lining