Ford risks repeating Mustang mistakes with Capri

Unloved and un-iconic e-SUV retreads of classic models do no favours for EVs more widely

Ford risks repeating Mustang mistakes with Capri
At least it's yellow...

US legacy OEM Ford has relaunched the Capri, its late ‘60s-mid ‘80s European version of the Mustang, as another e-SUV. But just the as the Mustang Mach-E faced criticism for having little in common with its iconic forebear, initial reaction suggests Ford has repeated the same mistake with the Capri.

And, while it will be a specifically Ford problem if the new Capri — like the firm's recent Explorer EV launch, a product largely built on VW architecture — fails to sell, it is potentially unhelpful for wider EV adoption.

For buyers more sceptical of e-mobility adoption, what they see as dilution of the legacy of classic vehicles by attaching their names to relatively generic e-SUVs could risk erecting another barrier towards them moving to EVs.

There is at least some understanding that Ford could not simply make an updated all-electric version of the old Capri. It was a low-slung, fastback two-door coupe — full disclosure, this author as a boy in the 1980s thought it was perhaps the coolest non-sportscar it would have been possible to own — and changing tastes have eroded the potential size of the market for such a vehicle.

“I understand coupes no longer sell and it is hard to make an EV out of one at a reasonable price,” says one commentator on LinkedIn. “Low-slung two-door four-seaters do not sell well anymore — everyone is buying SUV types,” agrees another.

And there are even some commentators who think that adding the Capri name to a rather samey e-SUV could be a good marketing ploy. “Leveraging brand heritage to help shift the kind of vehicles that actually sell, no problem with that at all,” suggests a more forgiving critic. “Homogenous raised boxes that carry you and your passengers in fairly bland comfort, safety, efficiency and space is the order of the day.”

“Re-introducing the Capri name is likely a marketing ploy: interested people will research the name; it will gain traction; and then there is the historical connection again adding some additional kudos at some level,” posits another.

But such voices dissent from a far larger surge of discontent around the Capri name being used for something so far away from the original, with many also returning to existing dissatisfaction with the Mustang label on the Mach-E. Here are a selection of LinkedIn comments:

—    You cannot just stamp an old name on something and hope it sells. This thing looks truly awful, design-by-committee crap we see from many old-school OEMs. I doubt it will sell

—    A Capri, to me, will always be a two-door stylish-looking coupe. Out of all the names in Ford's history, I do not think they should have used Capri

—    Looks like they have just rebranded the Mach-E as a Capri

—    That is not a Capri

—    If you want to appeal to the previous generations, why are the iconic body shape, headlights, any identifiable styling removed?

—    Electric box on wheels, with a nod to 1970s colours. Waste of an opportunity, Capris were never four-door family runabouts

—    I question Ford’s marketing on the Mustang and the Capri. They are both clearly not a homage to the Mustang or a Capri, so what is the point?

—    Looks just like everything else on the road. The whole appeal of the original Ford Capri was that its shape set it apart from everything else and it was instantly recognisable. This new incarnation will be forgotten very quickly

—    Not worthy at all of the Capri name.

—    Why do carmakers insist on ‘reinventing’ cool cars as mediocre, mid-size SUVs?

—    Where is the Capri DNA? The design language? The part where I can see the evolutionary journey from a to b? The feeling of 'vrooooom…’! This is vile. It looks like every other generic electronic shopping trolley.

—    That is just another box on wheels that looks like any other box on wheels these days

—    In my humble opinion, this is not a Capri by any stretch and, with an infinite number of possible names out there, cannot see a valid justification for re-using it. Bland also has five letters; this is just another non-descript box on wheels for the A-to B-masses out there

—    It is not a Capri, it is just called one. A real wasted opportunity to create something attractive, instead this looks like it has been designed by committee

—    Take the Ford badge off the front and I could not tell it apart from a plethora of very similar looking modern cars, which is a shame, the Capri was iconic

—    Was the design brief "make something that looks nothing like a Capri"? Just another chunky ‘Eurobox’ — without the name on it, you would not know what you were looking at

—    Looks like 40 other EVs. Big, bulky and rather ugly. Lacks the fun, the poise and the history

—    Might want to re-think calling that a Capri

—    Ford again exploiting the success of the past, the Mach-E is as far from a Mustang as you can get, this new effort as far from Capri as you can get

—    They ruined the Mustang name with the Mach-E, and now Capri too.

EV inFocus - Google News
Read full articles from EV inFocus and explore endless topics, magazines and more on your phone or tablet with Google News.

So it is fair to say that initial reviews have not been kind. A greater problem for the EV industry, particularly with the concept of reanimating heritage marque and model names with EV relaunches is if these hurt feelings among enthusiasts for automotive’s rich brand history start identifying EVs themselves as part of the problem, rather than the issue being generic design and ill-conceived marketing strategies.   

Great! You’ve successfully signed up.

Welcome back! You've successfully signed in.

You've successfully subscribed to EV inFocus.

Success! Check your email for magic link to sign-in.

Success! Your billing info has been updated.

Your billing was not updated.

Insider Focus LTD (Company #14789403)