When Ford Motor Co. (NYSE: F) announced its model year 2021 Mustang Mach-E all-electric sport utility vehicle, it instituted a reservation system for buyers willing to put down a refundable $500 to preorder one of the limited number of First Edition cars that will be built next year. Ford did not say how many of First Edition cars it would build, nor did it say how many reservations it would take.
Ford says it plans to build 50,000 all-electric Mustangs in the car’s first 12 months of production, but it won’t confirm how many of those are the special First Edition model that will set buyers back $61,000. That’s a bargain compared to the first Roadster from Tesla Inc. (NASDAQ: TSLA) in an edition of 1,000 that sold for $250,000 each. That was a bargain compared to Chinese automaker Nio Ltd.’s (NYSE: NIO) all-electric EP9, of which just six were made at a price of $1.5 million per copy.
The basic Select Mach-E carries a\ manufacturer’s suggested retail price of $43,895 and is expected to arrive in early 2021. Ford is also selling a Premium edition for $50,600 due late in 2020, a California Route 1 edition priced at $52,400 with availability in early 2021 and a GT version starting around $60,500 coming in the spring of 2021.
The Mach-E’s standard battery is rated for a range of 230 miles and an all-wheel-drive option ($2,700) drops that to 210 miles. Extended range batteries are expected to post ranges of 300 miles for rear-wheel-drive vehicles and 270 miles with the all-wheel-drive option. The extended range battery adds $5,000 to the cost.
The low reservation price of $500 (refundable if you change your mind) applies to all models of the Mustang Mach-E and only the First Edition is currently sold out. Among all orders, more than 80% include the extended range battery, about 55% are choosing all-wheel drive and nearly 30% are selecting the high-end GT version. More than a quarter of all reservations are coming from California. All versions of the Mustang Mach-E will qualify for the full $7,500 federal tax credit available to carmakers on the first 200,000 all-electric vehicles they sell.
Ford could be withholding data on how many First Edition preorders it accepted because the number is either very low or very high. If the number is too low, that’s bad news for one of Ford’s boldest recent moves: passing the Mustang name to an all-electric SUV and creating possible confusion in the market where the company still sells the gas-powered pony car.
If the number of preorders is high, investors will wonder why Ford didn’t build more of them or, at least, charge more for First Edition.
The $500 deposit is essentially equal to zero, especially since it will be refunded if potential buyers change their minds. It probably plays well in the board room though, so, no harm, no foul.
Ford stock traded up about 0.7% on the last trading day of the year, at $9.31 in a 52-week range of $7.48 to $10.56. The 12-month consensus price target on the stock is $10.16.