Before I go into a rant, however, the internet renders of the proposed vehicle the way Ford’s rumor mill describes it, makes this a very tempting and compelling vehicle. If the car was spacious enough for two backseat six foot adults like me and unlike original Mustang, had decent trunk space sometimes like an original Mustang, with a suspension that’s NOT I’ll call it a REAL Mustang ride to be instead softer but controlled saloon type handling and ride (no pony car choppiness rough ride please), and if it came with a manual, I swear this will be my last gas car purchase. Here’s what they propose:
- A dealer event is where the rumor started, as it transferred to the Internet.
- A stretched longer wheelbase on the same shell for two extra doors.
- Fastback like Porsche Panamera or Audi A7. So it’ll have a swept back rear roofline as if it was a hatch.
- Although sounding Lincolnish this car would stay Ford Mustang branded but targeted upmarket, including Lincoln like premium features.
- Current versions of the present sportback car in this description are in the $50,000-60,000 USD price point.
- Turbo V8 offered as the baseline power plant. Ford at present offers no such power plant in vehicle production with that description for any of their vehicles.
- Ford sells a crate plant, the Coyote 5.0 V8, which is possible.
- Upcoming variants: Hybrid, High Performance GT500, BEV CUV.
There’s Rumor then History of the Mustang Sedan
Recently at a dealer event, Ford Motor Company floated then launched a trial balloon of the possibility of putting into production this Mustang four-door fastback sedan. With a turbo V8 as the baseline power plant, obviously Ford intends to satisfy the Mustang fan base here, but move this vehicle upmarket elsewhere, and I hope it’s not all about Europe, that’ll be asking for trouble. There’s been talk of a Mustang sedan since day one 50 years ago and the closer to the future we get, the more that likelihood is inevitable. I have no problem with that and if you do, you need to get over that and I’ll go into Mustang car history to give you an obvious why.
If you look into your car history, the original generation 1964.5 Mustang was actually a Ford Falcon that was specifically made to not look like grandma’s Falcon. That car also had a four door and a station wagon variant. Growing up I remember always hearing rumors about a Mustang sedan, to once in a while see a two or four door shooting brake or sedan as a concept or custom at a Auto or car show. Mustang II as popular as it was, had no such talk, but when the more flexible and modular Fox platform came on the scene, I thought it was going to happen then. I think what happened is that we were so fatigued on slow Mustangs, that the times just weren’t right for a sedan, and Ford had to concentrate on upping the horsepower on those Foxes to get us where we needed to be, where we should have been, when it comes to Mustang performance. So here we are, with what probably is the best platform to build Mustangs anyway we want, and more cheaply and faster, so it’s going to happen soon. It’s a matter of time.
The Problem Isn’t the Car, the Problem is all the Cancellations, then Re-Ups of New Ones
I have no problem with the vehicle itself. The problem is how Ford is going about wasting money cancelling cars and then turn around quickly to start planning new ones when they had a build already in production that either could help them now, or from which a variant could’ve been made possibly to speed up production time and save money, or based on a subbrand that I don’t see them doing research or taking time to explore, but certainly misread the tea leaves to make even more mistakes. It seems they’ve forgotten the significance of branding their vehicles, to dial-a-car to solve a problem and when the problem is solved or the car won’t sell well right away, then cancel it, even if it’s a halo! How they mismanaged Lincoln is indicative of that.
The Lincoln Continental: The Ford that Needs to be a Mustang Now After it was Once a Lincoln
What’s most upsetting is that Ford doesn’t see between all the recent cancellations of the entire passenger car portion of the product portfolio, is the vast amounts of money they’ve wasted to get themselves here. And the Lincoln Continental, the car Mustang believe it or not will replace in some segments and demographics, and remember that this is not the car to use to fill all those voids, is that its cancellation is so spectacular, its story need to be told to the next saloon buyer in Ford’s future, to warn them of the chance the same thing may happen to them as well.
This is what pisses me off about Ford. They cancel their entire car lineup from the portfolio now this rumor of a Mustang Four Door Sedan. Factory worker jobs are at stake and they’re playing musical cars with the vehicle portfolio! I now call it the “Two Billion Dollar Lincoln Continental,” their flagship range topping sedan, and in typical Ford fashion it’s a halo car too, which seems to give them the license (shamefully it is their car after all) to throw their halos away like they often do in the past, as if there’s an expiration date on them. One billion spent in product development and marketing to the other billion for production and cost to tool and ramp up then down after a two or three calendar year, three or four model year run.
This has to be the most spectacular implosion of any American car in history, since of course and not surprisingly, the other Ford that takes the cake with only a three year run, the Ford Edsel. Only the Lincoln one is much more prettier than Henry’s son’s one. It takes the cake because when they cancelled the car in 1960 they also cancelled the division for it, after spending ten years and $250 million 1948 USD for marketing research, planning, and development.
They obviously didn’t learn their lesson from the last Lincoln Continental, the last upmarket saloon Ford made, that was also intended for foreign markets like this Mustang looks headed for, that I don’t even want to hear it’s made for exclusively here after the cries of Ford that Americans don’t want anymore sedans, that after two years they decided to cancel Conti at first panic when sales were slowing as they were for all vehicles! Here. No mention of sales anywhere else.
And if the foreign market excuse is a set up for “yeah it is but we’re selling it here too,” scenario, then Ford is screwing with another halo car to cheapen it’s resale value, cheapen the brand like a Cadillac, Lincoln too, that’s bound for a quick cancellation after two years like Conti, when all the Mustang people got their pieces and nobody else wants them, for Ford to cancel that. Think Australian Holden Commodore Chevy SS sedan with the stick shift. Great car, few niche buyers, everyone wants one, but not when they’re new. Please don’t bog down me down with the differences. It’s a similar scenario enough. Any of you reading me?
We knew this day was coming when Ford cancelled their entire North American passenger car portfolio except Mustang. For the life of me I wasn’t expecting it as quickly when Ford gave us a teaser reveal of Mach 1 CUV that blew up in their face as they handled that reveal so badly. They misidentified how electrification for that target CUV demographic is more about horsepower, speed, torque, and performance, that Ford misinterprets the data to equate electrification to value and cost saving like a soccer mom Mustang CUV. Spot on!
The sad part about Mach 1 is that Ford is really back at square one as to not really know what customers want and expect from Ford’s first battery electric car, even what name it should give it. Instead of doing the common sense thing to show the performance capability of an electric performance car by taking a current production model and converting it to all electric, Ford obstenantly chose not to and to their detriment. Used editing techniques in the car’s reveal to show impressions through images which didn’t work, instead of just showing an actual damn car juiced up with batteries beat the pants off of something. GM was the same way about Camaro. GM finally after all these years of leaving to tuner shops what they should have been doing all along, and that is to electrify your own car yourself which is what GM and Chevy did at SEMA 2018 this year, and with the e-COPO Camaro. It’s about time! Not board a job actually!
Luxury v. Performance, To Be or Not to be?
Frankly, Ford should get out of the luxury car business, as they really don’t deserve Lincoln. They want to compete in foreign markets and make a car specifically built for that reason. They sell it here, which is fine, but first sign of trouble they get rid of it. How about those foreign markets? Was that ever factored in? The American sedan is dying, but not the European saloon, it’s one of the reasons why saloons still sit on top of the ranges as flagships of ideal purchases of REAL luxury brands like Mercedes, Bentley, and Rolls, all former Lincoln competitors. And they do it still, because it ain’t all about Americans, we Americans need sometimes to remind ourselves. Thhe sad part of this with this new and now dead Lincoln Continental, is that this would have been the perfect car to go upmarket against Bentley and company with some changes. This is another missed opportunity that they jump off this to Mustang.
Part of having a luxury brand is believing your brand is the best and that you believe in your brand. Can any of you say that Ford truly feels that way about Lincoln? And what does that say about a Mustang subbrand, or line of Mustangs, that with that badging symbolizes not just the profits Ford so greedily waits for with these cars, but the heritage, legacy, and symbolism that go with that?
The mere fact that Ford seriously contemplates putting a V8 turbo and I’m assuming rear wheel drive, as they say they’ll stretch the sportsback variant to make the fastback sedan, but without an eyeblink they’ll put a V6 and front wheel drive in the Continental, speaks volumes to the culture of Ford being so stuck in Mainstream Land. That they also didn’t put Lincoln into this equation of making an upmarket luxury performance Mustang vehicle for a foreign market speaks loudly as well. How about a special edition of Mustang by Lincoln? No Mustang II Ghia, but a High Performance Mustng and ask yourselves, “what would the Europeans want in this car?” You can still brand it Ford, but like Ford used to do back in the 1970s, the interior had a nameplate in Mercury branded vehicles, to remind customers they weren’t getting the cream of their crop but many of the parts close to it: “Ride Engineered by Lincoln Mercury.” How about a nameplate like: “Performance or Engineered by Ford, Handcrafted by Lincoln.”
Ford should let Lincoln in on Mustangmania and still keep it branded Ford. I’m surprised GM doesn’t let Corvette be shared by Cadillac dealerships boutique style, as most likely Cadillac customers are more likely going to buy a Vette than a Chevy, and it’ll give people the incentive to see either the Caddy lineup and the Vette when renewing leases every 2-4 years or subscriptions every month or so. With these showrooms carrying many brands, there’s no reason or excuses to keep two separate car brands under two different roofs.
Come to think of it since Mustang is their last branded Ford passenger car in the USA, the home market, for a while if not tomorrow or forever, who the hell knows nowadays? Regardless its halo status should be protected. It is a special kind of car no different than the Chevrolet Corvette is to its mother brand. I believe Mustang should also be sold at Lincoln dealerships moving forward, not necessarily at Ford ones, as you don’t have to brand them Lincoln, it’s a Ford product like Lincoln, but if Mustang is special, you should be selling them next to what’s supposed to be your best vehicles, especially since the home brand isn’t selling cars anymore, for now. It deserves a boutique area inside each Lincoln retailer, especially if there are going to be different variants of the car. Putting them in Lincoln dealerships almost guarantees, I believe, that more expensive versions, the ones for grown ups that can afford them, can be more easily sold. If BMW does this for Mini, Lincoln can certainly do this for Mustang. If they had vision and balls. They don’t and here’s why:
“Luxury Performance” vehicle, are two words and concepts that Ford thinks should be kept separately, and therefore, to not get it. This is why they race from one open end of the spectrum to get Continental’s help for luxury, and then run to the other extreme to make a Mustang variant for performance. This is why without thinking they stuff a luxury car with a less prestigious V6 and pack front wheel drive (NO MORE FRONT WHEEL DRIVE PLEASE, ENOUGH) in a luxury car, but make a Mustang with a turbo V8 and RWD for Mustang for performance not thinking luxury. Sometimes I wonder, do they even know that they can make a vehicle that encompasses both? I know Lincoln wants to move their demographic to the more youthful, how the hell do they think they’re going to able to get there? For some reason for the life of me I can’t understand, why Lincoln’s corporate culture cannot combine the words “luxury” and ”performance” together.
I’m getting a little more on in age, still young but no spring chicken, but I don’t drive 100 mph on the highway as I once did as an officer, even less so off duty, and especially now retired. If I buy a luxury car, I don’t need to drive it 100 mph anywhere to prove something, but I want that car to be capable of being driven so. And so do BMW, Mercedes, Audi, etc. customers. And if they want to be taken seriously as a luxury brand, so should Lincoln be ready to anticipate that from their customers. Luxury is performance, and Lincoln better learn this that they don’t. This is another reason why Ford really does need to put Lincoln on the race circuit so that brand can move beyond “discount luxury” to “performance luxury.”
Once they can do that, then I believe Mustang could be a even better help to Ford, not just by having the Mustang we all love still for years, but also by putting those range topping Mustang Sportback coupes into Lincoln showrooms, maybe even a Mustang Super Sports Saloon to help sales. And with 21st century branding you can give a Mustang to a Lincoln salesperson without skipping a beat, and it’s still a Ford, albeit a special one.
This is how you transform and overlap luxury and performance. In fact the two words are synonymous in the car industry, they run hand in hand. It’s the reason why when W.O. Bentley was finished racing the circuit, he went home to Cricklewood to finish assembling his hand built luxury grand tourers for London bankers. This is why Bentley saloons are faster than most Porsches ever put into production, one of the reasons super luxury cars have V12s, not V8 engines. It doesn’t mean that you have to drive your vehicle as fast, but it should have that capability whether you want it or not, and stuffing V6s sends a message that you don’t want to be taken seriously as a luxury brand. But if you insist on not having high performance in a luxury car, one of the mainstream brands like Chevy and Ford can help you to configure a vehicle that’s right for you, with plenty of full power, tilt, cruise, infotainment but no horsepower. Thank You. And that’s the problem with Ford, they succeed at mainstream marginality that becomes a flaw in luxury.
I like to tell the story of the stock 1993 Lincoln Mark 8 LSC that broke the Bonneville speed record at 182 mph. Yes, that’s stock, only minor modifications, a roll cage inside the vehicle, and to the surprise of the engineers, it broke the record. This car incidentally was recently put up for auction last spring at Bonhams. Lincoln engineer Jerry Wroblewski recounted the story back in 1994, that word had already gotten back to Lincoln headquarters what they were doing, and Lincoln brass were not happy with the test engineers. Said one of them to Wroblewski: “we are a luxury brand, not a performance brand.”
Wow this says it all what the real problem is. This is why Ford doesn’t get it with Lincoln that they struggle to keep Lincoln alive even with Mercury out of the way, and why they don’t get it with Mustang, other than it being a fast pony car. And this is why they so readily cancel a car that suits a purpose, and go to the drawing board so easily to make another one to suit another. Workers get laid off in this process. It has to stop.
Never Mind Mustang Sedan, How About an Electric First? Just Stuff the Pack into a 2018 Model, That’s All!
How about Ford getting its priorities straight? Where’s that full electric Mustang that Ford should have had in production by now? No battery tray needed, and no tuner shop editions, okay? I want it straight from the factory! Too bad Ford can’t stick to what it knows, and that’s making nothing but gasoline light duty trucks and utilities. The paradox is that that’s the reason for Ford’s existence! They identified the logjam of gas cars unable to take hold in the new car consumer market, as opposed to electrics that thrived but were for the well heeled, and once the mass production method proved itself, Ford took off. Once Model T got launched in 1908 the electrics quickly went down Extinction Junction.
And this is why Ford does not have a robust electrification program like GM, VW, BYD, or Tesla, other than turn of the century outdated and paltry PHEVs they’re attaching to F-150s next year to their detriment, and with now cancelled Focus was their only compliance BEV. Ford burned through cars in their cancellation spending spree and has now run out of money to make their own real BEV electric car. They now need to go to VW Group to hope the Saxons will license their technology to them. That’s the fifth largest car company in the world folks. The national shame of FoMoCo.
So they move on to a sedan, and the sad part of this is had anyone there had the vision and foresight to see that what they were proposing in that dealer meeting and on the Internet to drop a trial balloon, was actually a Mustang Fastback saloon with a turbo V8 but that instead or was optional, had an electrified high performance variant, that would be the perfect Model S or 3 neutralizer. No mention of that. Ford as it did with Mach 1 still doesn’t get it with Fastback and I take them now with a grain to accept Ford’s glory years are over. Like Mach 1 and it’s name, I think this is more about gauging reaction before actually putting stylus to screen on CAD to create an actual design: the Ford Mustang Fastback European Sports Saloon!
And contrary to what my colleague Patrick Rall says that this car may compete with Dodge Charger, I really don’t think so. Why now? What purpose would that serve? If they intended to compete against Charger, they would’ve built this car years ago with the LX platform was a new dowry gift from Daimler to Chrysler. And if two door Mustang is a measure, a four door one I believe would be too small against full size Charger. It also goes against Ford’s the sedan is dying scheme, that I’m holding Ford accountable if they prove wrong.
This car will not see a light of day of production. Not this way, not under these circumstances. If Ford was smart for themselves, if this vehicle is anything about a new Mustang brand or subbrand, they should let Mach 1 go to production before unleashing a Mustang sedan. They should do this out of precaution after botching up the research and botching up the nameplate for the CUV. Unless there’s yet another change of plans to bring in the sedan next instead of the CUV, even if the sedan is about foreign markets which we aren’t so sure, and which I think isn’t a good idea.
What do you think of the idea of a Fastback Mustang Four Door? Let us know below!
Photos Courtesy Ford Media
The Mustang Saloon Render Courtesy X-Tomi Design