Growing up in El Paso, the automotive scenery was just a little different. Sure, El Paso has all of the typical American cars you’d expect, but you also see things on the street that aren’t for sale in the States. It’s not uncommon to see a Toyota Hilux (not the Tacoma, an actual Hilux) on the streets. You can also find people driving 1990-2003 Volkswagen Beetles, and they aren’t a New Beetle (Old Beetles were still sold in Mexico until 2003). In the 90s, every Chevy truck coming over the bridge was badged “2500,” regardless of whether it was a half-ton, 3/4 ton, or 1 ton truck (in the states, those were badged 1500, 2500, and 3500).
Another cool thing you see are Ford trucks that don’t say F-150 on them. Instead, they call it the Ford Lobo, and that’s Spanish for wolf. Here’s a commercial for them on Ford Mexico’s Twitter account, where you can very clearly see the “LOBO” badging.
— Ford México (@FordMX) April 13, 2021
After seeing a Mennonite farmer the other day in a brand new Lobo, I started to think (a dangerous pastime, I know). Rumor has it that Ford changed the name of the truck to Lobo in the 1990s to appeal to younger people more instead of having it look like an “old man” truck. Unlike in the States, the Mexican wolves weren’t extirpated, so they were still a semi-familiar thing that’s aggressive and cool.
Whatever the reasoning, marketing the F-150 as a Wolf must’ve worked because they’re still doing it today:
Honestly, in a time when everyone is selling trucks and even some cars with numbers and letters instead of names, going with something fresh like “Wolf” is nice.
Now, let’s talk about the Lightning. Lighting is known to not only be fast, but dangerous. If you go golfing during a thunderstorm, that nine iron just might serve as a makeshift lightning rod and give you a nice jolt of unexpected electricity. When lightning hits trees, the sap turns to steam and the tree literally explodes (this happened 20 feet away from me once, and it scared the hell out of me).
I don’t know about you, but a vehicle named after both a Wolf and Lightning sounds pretty awesome. Not only can it team up with its buddies to bite and tear you up, but you’ll get struck by lightning at the same time. Obviously, you don’t want to be killed by wolves while being struck by lightning in real life, but that’s two scary forces of nature rolled up into one. It’s a hell of a name for a tough truck.
So, Mike and Jim, if you’re reading this, can we? Can you sell a limited run of LOBO Relámpago trucks in the States? Or can you make it an option to badge it up like that from the factory?
Beyond morons like me who live near the border and think it’s cool and University of New Mexico fans in Albuquerque, there’s a larger Mexican-American population in the US who would love it. There’s enough demand for it that people buy LOBO badging on eBay and swap it out themselves, but there won’t be any authentic LOBO Lightning or LOBO Relámpago badging to be had.
I also have some other fun ideas for twisted badge engineering:
Tell FOTON Where To Stick It
I don’t know if Ford is tired of having Chinese companies rip off its designs, but there’s a fun way to clap back: copycat them back!
If you offer an F-150 with FOTON and “big general” badging, they’ll probably want to sue, but it’s hard to do that when their whole truck is a knockoff of your truck. Even if nobody buys funny FOTON badging, it’s a great way to send them a simple “we see you” message. I’ve never heard of badge engineering being used for mocking revenge before, but it’s worth a shot.
A Mach-E With Classic Badging
Tras 17 años de espera, la leyenda ha regresado para seguir haciendo historia con su gran diseño e increíble desempeño. Conoce más de #FordMustang #Mach1: https://t.co/k6GfDAtN8b pic.twitter.com/lqXGYfFnNk
— Ford México (@FordMX) May 21, 2021
The classic Mach 1 badging on the Mexican Mustang is cool and retro. While I know that the Mach-E needs to be futuristic, can we get an option to order one with classic-font badging? Having a cool electric Mustang with a Mach-E badge done in the retro style would be a lot of fun.
Bring Back The Bronco II
I know Ford doesn’t want to revisit the Bronco II. I also know it doesn’t want to revisit the Mustang II. It seems like every time Ford put “II” on something, bad things happened. It’s bad luck at best and bad memories at worst, right?
But, many customers would think it would be fun to badge up an Bronco Sport as a Bronco II because it’s the little version of the vehicle. For those few customers with a dark sense of bad humor, it would be a fun option.
Plus, Ford still sells Explorers, despite the Firestone tire fiasco, so reusing names from problem vehicles of the past can’t be that bad, right?
One Big One: Give Elon The Model E
I have one more silly idea, and then I swear I’ll keep this stuff to Twitter. Put the E back in SEXY by letting Tesla use the Model E name. It already calls its cars “Model __” so it wouldn’t really make that much sense for Ford to use that pattern of automobile naming now. Not only would this win points with the Tesla fandom, but it would also show everyone that Ford has a good sense of humor to boot.
Just think about it. Hold a joint press conference with Tesla at 4:20. Have 69 Ford employees shake hands with 69 Tesla employees. The humor level would obviously be an order of magnitude higher than it is now, and that alone would make it worth it. Few understand this.
If nothing else, Ford should do something with the Model E name. I don’t know if the company ever plans on making an affordable EV that could change the car market the way the Model T did back in the day, but if so that would be a fun idea. It just seems like a waste for such a perfect name for an electric car to just sit and go unused.