According to Automotive News, Ford's 2020 Explorer launch was messy. We also know that the Escape Plug-In Hybrid was advertised to come out with the launch of the 2020 model. It was then delayed to 2021. Early reports said to expect it in January 2021, however, it still hasn't arrived. Ford says to expect the PHEV this spring.
Fast-forward to the launch of Ford's first mainstream electric car – the Mustang Mach-E electric crossover – and the brand is working diligently so that history doesn't repeat itself.
This all comes as no surprise since launching a brand-new vehicle has proven quite difficult, regardless of the automaker. Tesla has had its fair share of issues over the years, but so has just about every major OEM on the plant. If launching a refreshed or redesigned gas-powered car is hard, it seems launching a successful EV is likely more difficult by leaps and bounds. We've seen proof of this for years, and it's likely to be the case for years to come.
Ford has already compensated buyers for delays related to slow production ramps. In New Jersey, Ford gave some Mach-E buyers a $5,000 discount since the state's incentive expired prior to the crossover's delayed launch. The company also added additional free charging due to the delays. The automaker also has online staff working to connect with people on social media and respond to complaints. Executive analyst at iSeeCars, Karl Brauer, shared with Automotive News:
"When you're launching not just a new vehicle, but a new type of vehicle, and you're going after a new target audience, especially a younger, tech-savvy group of EV buyers, you can't treat it like another vehicle. You don't get a second chance to make a first impression, and there are a lot of potential first impressions going on with non-Ford buyers with the Mach-E. They have to look like a serious player; not just that they can produce the car, but that they can support the launch and the owner body."
Ford's vice president of US and Canada sales Andrew Frick said the Mustang Mach-E's "significance and potential" have led to Ford putting much emphasis on making sure things are right. He said:
"Each of our all-new vehicles is important to launch right and with great quality, but there is a certain level of special attention and excitement around Mustang Mach-E after customers have read the positive reviews and heard about the awards."
Between December 2020 and March 2021, Ford sold some 6,600 Mach-E's. Ford says most of those buyers came from a competitor's car, and many may also be considering a Tesla. In fact, Ford has directly targeted Tesla, and it's ramping up its efforts. To be clear, even the company's CEO and North America Product Communications manager have taken to Twitter to cast doubt about Tesla and its products.
Ford is also making sure to put each Mach-E under extra quality checks. And, the brand has personally reached out to owners who have pointed out various issues on social media, or in the form of videos on their YouTube channels.
For example, a Denver couple started a video channel to share their Mach-E experiences. They explained:
"I thought Ford did an OK job letting me know what was happening until it got to the shipping stage. We're so used to seeing packages tracked when we order online, it seemed crazy that I couldn't track my car every step of the way."
They had to wait until seven weeks after their electric pony was built before taking delivery. However, Ford gave them additional free charging points to make them happy after the delay.
What's your forecast related to how this Ford launch is going? Is Ford doing enough to make things right? Leave us your comments below.