2021 ALL STAR | PRODUCT ENGINEERING
Mustang Mach-E chief engineer,
Ford Motor Co.
The Mustang Mach-E had been out for nearly five months when Donna Dickson became chief engineer in April, but the work for her team was just getting started.
The Mach-E is the first in a new wave of electric vehicles for Ford, and it is considered by many to be the Detroit 3’s first serious challenger to Tesla’s popular portfolio. The team knew it had to nail the launch and production ramp-up.
That’s why, in addition to monitoring how things were going on the assembly line, Dickson monitored how things were going online — from owner forums and YouTube videos to Twitter posts and Facebook groups.
The team tried to respond in real time to posts from users experiencing problems with the vehicle and fix any issues as quickly as possible.
In some instances, Ford has proactively compensated buyers for delivery delays. This year, it even gave some buyers in New Jersey an extra $5,000 discount to make up for a state incentive that expired before their crossovers were ready.
“We were trying to do things differently post-launch than we had with other vehicles,” said Dickson, 54. “When you buy a Mach-E, we want you to love it every time you get in it and make sure it’s improving for however long you stay with it.”
The vehicle has earned a number of awards in its first year on sale, and Dickson said Ford was continuing to make tweaks to improve the customer experience. This year, the company launched over-the-air updates on a few nameplates, including the Mach-E, that can add everything from more horsepower to a new center screen doodle app.
“I’ve been on great products and been very prideful of those products, but nothing like this,” Dickson said. “It’s not only changing Ford Motor Co., it’s changing the world. This is the foundation we’re going to use to leverage more EVs.”