DETROIT — After the bungled launch of the 2020 Explorer, Ford Motor Co. executives made clear that the automaker couldn't afford to stumble with its next round of high-profile vehicles, including the Mustang Mach-E electric crossover. Now, officials are going the extra mile to make the Detroit 3's first serious challenger to Tesla's electric vehicles a success.
Ford has proactively compensated buyers for delivery delays as production ramps up. It is even giving some buyers in New Jersey an extra $5,000 discount to make up for a state incentive that expired before their Mach-E was ready.
Meanwhile, Ford's public relations staff has been scouring the Internet to respond to owner complaints early on, with one official personally talking down dealerships that were demanding thousands of dollars over sticker price to leverage early demand.
Some of the tactics are new territory for a company with more than a century of experience in customer service. At stake, experts say, is the brand's credibility among impressionable and sometimes influential shoppers in a burgeoning segment.