Ford CEO Jim Farley Reveals Why 2024 Mustang Will Stay Gasoline
Ford Chairman Bill Ford and President and CEO Jim Farley chat in front of the newly unveiled Mustang Dark Horse at The Stampede in downtown Detroit on September 14, 2022.
DETROIT. On Wednesday night, Ford Motor CEO Jim Farley was in his element, surrounded by gearboxes and new 2024 Mustang models, including an unexpectedly new high-performance version called the “Dark Horse.”
During the presentation at the Detroit Auto Show, there was no talk of electric vehicles or sustainability. Only the roar of engines and the squeal of tires to the applause of the hundreds of Mustang owners present.
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The scene unfolded in stark contrast to other recent developments for Farley and Ford that touted electrification and environmental goals. This is because, despite the transition to electric vehicles, Mustang will use gasoline engines for the seventh generation car in 2024.
This may come as a surprise given Ford’s plans to invest $50 billion in new electric vehicles in the coming years, as well as the expected plans of Dodge Challenger and Chevrolet Camaro – Mustang’s biggest competitors – to go electric.
So why has Ford settled on gasoline engines for the new car? Farley said, essentially, because it’s possible… and because it makes business sense for the foreseeable future.
In the coming years, the Ford Mustang may be in a segment of its own, forcing those who still crave the American muscle car coupe to jump on the brand. This includes non-US customers, which account for about 20% of Mustang sales.
“People are leaving the segment like Dodge, so we have a chance to really introduce something new about the Mustang,” Farley said after 2024 Mustang debut. “It will give us a big advantage because a lot of people still love these cars.”
2024 Ford Mustang Dark Horse
While the American muscle car segment has shrunk from what it used to be, the demand for cars is still there, which could also attract new customers for the respective brands.
As Ford invests in electric vehicles, Farley says the automaker will continue to invest in its traditional business. It’s part of the CEO’s new plan to boost sales of his traditional businesses, electric vehicles and commercial vehicles.
Farley and Ford chairman Bill Ford declined to say if the seventh-generation Mustang would be the last iteration of the gas-powered car.
“If people don’t need them anymore, they will disappear, but I personally believe that people will want this car for quite some time,” Ford said, adding that “that day will come with tears in their eyes.”
Farley said the main reason Ford continues to make gas-powered Mustangs is, ironically, the success of Mustang Mach-E, an all-electric crossover that first went on sale in late 2020 and actually outsold the petrol version within a few months.
Mach-E, which has little in common with the gas-powered Mustang other than the name, has propelled Ford to become the second-best-selling electric vehicle brand in the country.
This success of electric vehicles has given the automaker more flexibility to promote gas-powered models compared to competing automakers who have to chase sales of electric vehicles and the emissions regulations awarded for them.
Automakers are required to hold a certain amount of regulatory credit each year. If a company can’t meet a target, it can buy loans from other companies like Tesla that have excess loans.
“Mustang Mach-E, created in this way, allowed this car to appear,” Farley said. “Competitors are buying emissions credits and they can’t come out with a vehicle like that.”
U.S. President Joe Biden stands next to a (electric) Ford Mustang Mach-E SUV during a visit to the Detroit Auto Show, dedicated to the production of electric vehicles in America, in Detroit, Michigan, September 14, 2022.
Kevin Lamark | Reuters
Dodge said these emissions standards are one of the reasons it will end production of its gasoline Chargers and Challengers at the end of next year. Chevrolet is expected to end production of the gas-powered Chevy Camaro in the coming years as part of General Motors’ plans to produce all-electric vehicles by 2035.
A spokesman for Dodge, a division of Stellantis, said in announcing the electric muscle cars that the company is “celebrating the end of an era and the start of a bright new electrified future.”
A Chevrolet spokesman said the company would not comment on future production, but added, “The Camaro continues to play an important role in Chevrolet’s performance vehicle lineup and remains a highly sought-after vehicle that our customers love.”
Ford’s biggest competitor in the city, GM, which is in the process of phasing out its gas-powered products, is aiming to better compete with Tesla, the top seller of electric vehicles.
Farley, meanwhile, said he wants to grow his traditional business with “self-assured products” that generate controversy and attention, such as the 2024 Mustang, including the new “Dark Horse” variant.
“At the dealer show, I had a shirt that said ‘Ford Against Everyone’. That’s our attitude,” Farley said. “We want to be a dark horse. We are a dark horse against Tesla in the electric vehicle business. We want to create a new game.”