• Studies

Survey: Consumers dislike the name, split on Ford's Mustang Mach-E versus Tesla Model Y

By Analytics Team | November 21, 2019


  • Consumers were evenly split on whether they would prefer a Ford Mustang Mach-E or Tesla Model Y, 51/49%.

  • Forty-six percent of respondents said they didn't like Ford's use of 'Mustang' for the new electric crossover; 20 percent did like the choice; 34 percent were undecided.

  • Consumers who chose the Ford cited the brand's dealer and service network, trust in Ford, and the Mach-E's styling as key reasons.

  • Shoppers who chose the Tesla said they liked the brand's Supercharging network, the Model Y's expected performance, and the Tesla brand overall.

Full story:

Consumers can’t seem to agree on whether the Tesla Model Y is better than the Ford Mustang Mach-E.

But they’re united on one thing: they don’t like the Mustang name on this new EV.

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Autolist.com surveyed approximately 1,000 consumers in the days after Ford’s first-ever Mach-E was revealed and asked them which they would prefer: the Mustang or the Tesla Model Y. The results were extremely close: 51 percent of respondents choose the Ford Mach E while 49 percent of consumers choose the Tesla.

Yet a little under half of the respondents (46 percent) said they didn’t like the fact that Ford used the Mustang name on its first-ever Mach-E. Just 20 percent of consumers did like the name, with the remaining 34 percent undecided.

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The use of the Mustang name was a calculated gamble on Ford’s part as the automaker looks to leverage perhaps its best-known car in an effort to boost awareness of the Mach-E and boost its performance credibility.

“Mustang is practically its own subbrand with huge name recognition that should help Ford’s critical foray into EVs,” said Chase Disher, analyst at Autolist.com. “But at the same time, the automaker has to endure howls of protest from the pony car faithful who hate seeing an icon’s legacy get appropriated.”

The Mach-E name is derived from the Mach 1, a high-performance iteration of the Mustang that Ford made throughout the 1970s and again from 2003 to 2004.

Ford’s all-new electric crossover was revealed ahead of the 2019 L.A. Auto Show in a warehouse practically adjacent to Tesla’s design center and the SpaceX headquarters. The choice of location was a not-so-subtle indication from Ford that it was targeting one particular brand with its Mach-E.

Both the Tesla Model Y and Ford Mustang Mach-E are set to land in consumers’ driveways in 2020. When they do, they’ll have plenty in common: a price tag from the mid-$40,000 range to the mid-$60,000 range; rear-wheel- or all-wheel-drive; a range of 210 to 300 miles, depending on the model; and hands-free driving capabilities.

Consumers’ even split in Autolist’s poll on the two EV crossovers is an indication that Ford got many elements of the Mach-E right.

“Tesla has long been seen as an innovator in the electric vehicle space, so for a legacy automaker like Ford to come in and match the Model Y’s competitiveness is a good sign for Ford,” Disher said. “It shows that Tesla may not have the stranglehold on the Model Y segment that it currently has with the Model 3.”

After consumers indicated which of the two vehicles they would choose, Autolist asked them to pick three reasons why they choose that model.

The top five most common answers by consumers who choose the Ford Mustang Mach-E were:

  • Prefer/trust Ford more
  • The Mach-E’s exterior styling
  • Ford’s established dealer and service network
  • The Mach-E’s expected reliability
  • Concerns about Tesla’s future

The top five most common answers by consumers said they’d choose the Tesla Model Y were:

  • Prefer/trust Tesla more
  • Expected reliability
  • The Model Y’s expected performance
  • Tesla’s Supercharging network
  • Dislike of the Ford brand

For the Ford fans, key attributes that stood out were the brand’s dealer and service network and the Mach-E’s styling.

“This poll showed that Ford’s existing network of 2,100 certified dealers could be a crucial asset for the Mach-E for consumers who might be wary of jumping into their first electric vehicle,” Disher said.

Tesla’s advantages, meanwhile, lie in the strength of the Tesla brand itself -- and its robust Supercharging network.

“Because the brand started out with luxury, high-performance models (Roadster, Model S, Model X) before moving to the mainstream Model 3 and Y, consumers still see plenty of desirability in the Tesla name,” Disher said. “That, plus its Supercharging network to relieve anxiety about range, makes for a potent combo.”