How the Mustang Mach-E Rally Project Allowed a Former Ford College Graduate to Shift Gears in His Career

Mar 07, 2024

For almost 10 years after joining the company as a Ford College Graduate, Peter Schultz worked on transmissions as a product development engineer. But as other roles arose in product planning and EV program management, he seized the opportunity to shift gears. Today, he’s seeing the new Ford Mustang Mach-E Rally through from inception to production after helping usher the vehicle into the prototype and testing phases.

“It was a pretty huge leap going from the end of the product pipeline to the beginning of it,” Schultz said. “It’s been really exciting, and I’ve found a place where I can really thrive.”  

Mustang Mach-E Rally, Ford’s first rally-inspired electric SUV, was conceived and brought to reality in just 16 months by a small team dedicated to creating a white space vehicle for rally enthusiasts. Mustang Mach-E Rally will be available in all North American and European markets where Mustang Mach-E is currently available.

A Michigan State University graduate who grew up as a car-obsessed kid on a dairy farm in Wisconsin – “I was always more interested in cars than cows,” he said of his upbringing, which helped shape his selfless approach in a team atmosphere – Schultz was determined to pursue engineering in the automotive industry, even at the height of the Great Recession. After graduating college, he joined the Ford College Graduate (FCG) program in 2012 after an internship in Product Development.

FCG program was foundational

The Ford College Graduate program provides recent college graduates with a variety of rotational job assignments on multiple skill teams for their first two or three years with the company. The program is designed to expose participants to the Ford culture and help them build on their skills. Schultz said being able to see different aspects of the company can help new employees find their niche.

“The FCG program was so foundational for setting the tone for making me able to have an impact in the company,” he said. “Getting to experience and dabble in each of those rotations made me more effective later in my career.”

Schultz spent several years on the team that developed the 10-speed transmission for the Ford F-150 and other vehicles, but he had reached a point where he was ready for a change.

“I wanted to get closer to electrification, and I felt like I was at the end of the pipeline and didn’t have much impact on the vehicle,” he said. “I was really responsible for the delivery of the product, and I wanted to be doing more on the front end and I wanted to have a say in the early part of programs.”

Schultz was new to product planning last year when a team leader came looking for volunteers to take a larger role on Mustang Mach-E Rally.

“I was just trying to get up to speed and find somewhere I could contribute,” he said. “It worked out really well. I had a fresh perspective being brand new to that side of the business.” 

As the program progressed from the planning stages to development, Schultz took on a hybrid planning and program management role, and was ultimately asked to remain with the Program Management team to see the project through. The project’s “go-fast” timetable saw the Mach-E Rally make the famed hill run at the Goodwood Festival of Speed in the U.K. just 16 months after an email from executives, including President and CEO Jim Farley, kicked off the project’s exploration phase. A program of this type would typically take two to three years, by Schultz’s estimate.

An ‘unbelievable amount of collaboration’

What followed was an “unbelievable amount of collaboration between all kinds of different disciplines,” Schultz said, including with subject matter experts in areas such as chassis, powertrain, body design and body engineering, among them. Also, the team had to reduce complexity and move quickly with a bias for action to help Ford win in an untapped market. That meant rewriting processes on the fly, where needed. Schultz has even been able to put his previous knowledge of powertrain calibration to use, as he has been involved in every area of the new rally-inspired SUV.

“It really made me excited to know that these kinds of opportunities are available to me,” Schultz said. “This has been a dream assignment, working on this program. It’s the kind of thing I’ve wanted to do since the day I decided to be an automotive engineer. Seeing that these kinds of things actually can happen and knowing that Ford gives me these kinds of opportunities, it’s really been exciting.”

The Mustang Mach-E Rally will be available to purchase in early 2024 and deliveries will begin shortly afterward. To stay up to speed with the rally-inspired, five-passenger Ford Mustang Mach-E Rally, visit