Ford CEO assures Mustang's ICE future, casts doubt on EVs

Jet Sanchez
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Ford CEO says the Mustang GTD is a "down payment" on Mustang's future.

Ford CEO says the Mustang GTD is a "down payment" on Mustang's future.

In an industry increasingly leaning towards electric vehicles (EVs) as the future of transportation, Ford chief executive Jim Farley offers a refreshing and somewhat controversial perspective. 

During his recent visit to the UK for the 81st Goodwood Members’ Meeting, Farley shared his candid thoughts on the future of vehicle powertrains, suggesting that battery electric vehicles (BEVs) may not be the definitive solution.

Farley, known for his hands-on approach and love for classic cars, participated in the Ken Miles Cup, racing a classic Mustang 289 V8. 

This iconic vehicle has been a symbol of American muscle for decades, and Farley's participation came as an emphatic statement.

BEVs: not a one-size-fits-all solution (says Farley)

Ford Mustang Mach-E New Zealand
Ford Mustang Mach-E

When questioned by Autocar about the future of the internal combustion engine (ICE) Mustang in the face of global electric mandates, Farley’s response was clear and thought-provoking: “Are you sure? I don’t think we know.” 

He elaborated that for specific applications, such as commercial use or heavy-duty tasks, electric power is “a terrible solution.”

Farley pointed out the limitations of BEVs for specific use cases, such as ranchers depending on utes in the US or tradespeople needing reliable Transit vans. “Even the most radical, decarbonising politician can’t afford to be on the wrong side of the customers,” he emphasised, highlighting the practical challenges inherent in a total EV transition.

Exploring alternatives

2025 Ford Mustang Dark Horse New Zealand
2025 Ford Mustang Dark Horse

Beyond BEVs, Farley suggested that hydrogen and sustainable fuels could play significant roles in the future of transportation.

“Maybe the solution will be hydrogen. Or the sustainable fuels thing is coming along,” he said. Farley’s openness to these alternatives indicates a flexible approach to future mobility solutions, avoiding a single-path mindset. 

His scepticism towards a one-size-fits-all solution is rooted in automotive history. He recounted past predictions about the dominance of various powertrains, such as diesel, which never fully materialised as anticipated, at least in some parts of the world.

“Whenever someone starts telling me they know the future, I hear a warning buzzer in my head,” he quipped.

The V8 Mustang's enduring legacy

Ford Mustang GTD
Ford Mustang GTD New Zealand

In stark contrast to competitors like Dodge, which has embraced battery-electric powertrains for its future muscle cars, Farley asserted that Ford will continue to produce V8-powered Mustangs. “A Mustang that’s not a Mustang” was his descriptor for any attempt to replace the traditional ICE model with an electric model like the Mustang Mach-E

Farley reassured enthusiasts that Ford will keep the V8 Mustang in production for as long as possible, relying on the strength of its fleet business to support continued availability.

Discussing the future of the Mustang, Farley referred to the Mustang GTD as a “down payment” on the model’s longevity. 

This high-performance variant shows Ford’s commitment to delivering desirable cars that almost anyone can dream of purchasing. And now Ford fans may rest a little easier knowing the petrol-powered Mustang is probably here to stay.

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