Many of those shoppers also are interested in Tesla, a brand Ford and its executives have directly targeted.
“I don’t think it’s overstating it to say there’s a battle for the hearts and minds of EV buyers going on right now, specifically between Tesla and Ford,” Brauer said. “You’re seeing a lot of energy on both sides trying to make the case that their models, and their long-term plans, are the superior ones.”
In some instances, that means defending the vehicle or correcting glitches in real time online.
When a photo of a window sticker with a handwritten $10,000 “market adjustment” on it spread on Twitter last month, Ford’s head of product communications, Mike Levine, handled the matter himself. “The markup has been removed from this Mach-E,” Levine tweeted the next morning. He promised to help anyone who encountered a markup find a different dealer.
Ford also has been performing additional quality checks on some Mach-Es to ensure buyers don’t experience problems after delivery, although those have caused delays. To make up for the wait, in early March, the company told 4,500 buyers — some of whom already had received their Mach-E — it was doubling their free charging allotment, and it gave them extra FordPass Rewards points, which can be used toward the cost of maintenance or vehicle-related purchases. For 150 buyers who experienced multiple delays, Ford covered their first monthly payment of up to $1,000.
The emphasis on smooth launches comes after the slow, messy rollout of the redesigned Explorer that contributed to a big drop in the automaker’s 2019 profit. In addition to the Mach-E, Ford has been working to ramp up production of the redesigned F-150 full-size pickup and the new Bronco SUV and Bronco Sport crossover over the past year.
“We have known from the start that with Mustang Mach-E, a large number of customers have a continuously connected presence with friends and family, and online through social media and with like-minded enthusiasts,” Frick said. “We have made it a priority to communicate and respond to their questions in certain places where tech-savvy electric vehicle customers hang out, like Twitter. It shows our commitment to treating them like family and that we’re listening to all the feedback they provide.”