Ford will mine its past for classic model names to apply to future models.
While it might mean a return for some revered badges — such as Falcon or Capri — these new models could well feature electric motivation and body styles unrelated to the cars of yore.
In an interview with Autocar, Murat Gueler, Ford of Europe’s chief designer, said “the industry is in its craziest time ever since I joined 20 years ago”.
In addition to the shift to electric propulsion, Gueler noted “very competitive” products from China and “beautiful designs and strong technology” from Korean marques have lead legacy brands to question their future positioning.
According to Gueler, Ford has “the unique asset of having nameplates from the past that we can tap into to emotionalise our product and to tell stories no other brand can tell”.
Gueler didn’t let slip any nameplates Ford is considering for a revival, and given recent form, resuscitated badges aren’t restricted to the body styles or size classes they graced in the past.
Ford has a strong recent history of recycling or referencing nameplates from its past. There’s the Puma, which was a Fiesta-based coupe in the late 1990s, and morphed into a Fiesta-based crossover in 2019.
Perhaps most controversially Ford decided to market its first dedicated EV model as the Mustang Mach-E, extending the Mustang brand beyond burbling V8s and two-door models.
Gueler admitted there were a “lot of sceptics” regarding the Mach-E, “but it it turns out it was the right thing to do, because the Mustang name gives a gravitas to the product which maybe otherwise wouldn’t exist”.
Other heritage-inspired models include the Bronco SUV, Galaxy people mover, clearly inspired by the full-size American sedan from the 1960s, the Kuga crossover, which plays on various Ford and Mercury Cougar two-doors from years past, and the new Maverick that’s an Escape-based ute and not a “compact” sedan.
The Blue Oval isn’t the only automaker to jump on this trend.
Mitsubishi exhumed the Eclipse name in 2017, but tagged Cross on the end so no-one confused the new crossover with the former US-market coupe.
Other examples include the Dodge Dart, Maserati Ghibli and Mini Countryman.