November 14, 2019 / 11:19 AM / a month ago

Ford uses Mustang name, hoping new electric SUV will zap Tesla

(Reuters) - Ford Motor Co (F.N) will tag its new electric sport utility vehicle (SUV) with the Mustang name, the automaker said on Thursday, seeking to entice customers into a new era by linking it to the model whose groundbreaking design in the 1960s combined sportiness and affordability.

Ford confirmed its new electric SUV will be called the Mustang Mach-E ahead of a debut event scheduled for Los Angeles on Sunday. Until now, the Mustang name has been used only on a line of sporty coupes associated with Detroit’s 1960s muscle car era.

Customers in the United States, Canada and Europe can start ordering the electric vehicles on Nov. 17, Ford said.

While Mustang coupes are built in Michigan, the Mach E will be built at a factory in Cuatitlan, Mexico.

The Mach E is the first of a more than dozen all-electric automobiles the company plans to launch by 2022 with an investment of $11.5 billion as it moves away from traditional gasoline-powered cars.

Electric vehicle market leader Tesla Inc(TSLA.O) has used speed and power to sell its vehicles, along with upgradable software and big display screens.

Using the Mustang name signals that Ford intends to do the same, leaving behind the prior strategy of positioning electric vehicles as practical, “green” cars.

Competition for electric vehicle customers will intensify over the next several years as more mainstream automakers launch electric models, and Tesla expands into new market segments.

Tesla Chief Executive Elon Musk has said he will unveil a high-performance electric pickup truck at an event in Los Angeles on Nov. 21, coinciding with the Los Angeles Auto Show.

Ford and General Motors Co (GM.N) are working on electric pickup trucks as well.

In April, the No. 2 U.S. carmaker invested $500 million in electric automaker Rivian and said it planned to use the Michigan startup’s platform to build a new Ford-branded electric vehicle.

Ford has also formed an alliance with Volkswagen AG (VOWG_p.DE) to use the German automaker’s compact electric vehicle platform for new vehicles in Europe.

Slideshow (3 Images)

A reservation for the Mustang Mach-E can be made on Ford’s website in the United States, Canada and Europe by paying a refundable deposit of $500, the company said.

Ford said it would announce reservation dates for China later.

(This story adds dropped word in first paragraph)

Reporting by Ankit Ajmera in Bengaluru; Editing by Anil D'Silva, Mark Potter and David Gregorio

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