As numerous manufacturers grapple with the concept of making electric vehicles attractive to traditional enthusiasts, more brands appear to be going down the road of digging up iconic past nameplates and rebirthing them as EVs.
Renault is the starring example of this. It’s confirmed that it’s bringing back the Renault 5 in fully electric form, with a hot hatch model also in the works, designed to recreate some of that R5 Turbo magic.
Ford appears to be having similar thoughts. Speaking to Autocar UK, chief designer at Ford Europe, Murat Gueler, says that bringing models from Ford’s back catalogue back to life represents “an opportunity for Ford to distinguish itself from the bombardment of electrification that’s coming”.
“I think we have 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. […] There is opportunity with nameplates that you can really refresh and execute in the right way to distinguish yourself from others,” he said.
Gueler references the Mustang Mach-E electric car as a successful recent example of a successful nameplate transition. It’s not the only one Ford has pulled from the grave recently, either. The Puma, Maverick, and Bronco have all recently been reborn.
Some Australian outlets have noted that the Falcon could be an eligible contender for a rebirth, too. Ford ceased production of the Falcon in 2016, following its departure from Australian manufacturing. The name also has American lineage, although it hasn’t been sold stateside since 1970.
The Falcon’s return is more likely than not a pipedream. Ford has almost completely eliminated sedans from its global line-up, with the Mondeo nameplate also now on death’s door. A lonely Focus sedan sold in select markets (mainly in Asia) is the brand’s last traditional sedan left.
Ford will also be acutely aware of Holden’s unsuccessful attempt to keep the Commodore nameplate alive beyond the end of Australian production. The German-made ZB Commodore was a relatively poor seller in Australia, with former Holden faithful struggling to adopt the front- and all-wheel drive model as one of their own.
“The industry is in its craziest time ever since I joined 20 years ago, and I’ve never seen it so disruptive as it is now. There’s a lot of stuff coming onto the market and consumers are bombarded with all kinds of products and information,” Gueler added.
“There’s a lot of stuff coming from China which is very competitive, and the Koreans are already very competitive with beautiful designs and strong technology, so the question for manufacturers like Ford is ‘how do you position yourself?’.”