Ford is Working With Aftermarket Suppliers to Ensure Mustang’s Continued Popularity

May 02, 2024

Customization and personalization have been part of Mustang’s 60-year legacy, and the leaders of the Mustang program are making sure they’re staying engaged with the aftermarket industry to help ensure Mustang’s continued popularity. Ten members from the Mustang and Mustang Mach-E teams were on hand for the inaugural Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) Garage TechTalks event, including Mustang Chief Engineer Laurie Transou and Mustang Mach-E Chief Engineer Donna Dickson.

Innumerable aftermarket parts, ranging from performance engine and suspension upgrades to aesthetic modifications of the interior and exterior, are available for the iconic Pony car. Transou said the ability to customize the car is “a core tenet in Mustang brand essence.”

“For our Mustang products, accessorizing and making it your own is critical,” she said. “And having a strong relationship with the people who do so is important to not only understand what our customers want, but to understand what we as Ford can do to help make sure our products are easier to accessorize and make one’s own.” 

Transou added that a positive relationship with aftermarket producers is important because it allows Ford to focus on creating products that will give the company the most bang for its buck.  

“There’s a balance between what we want to do, the complexity that we can manage at our plant, and what we can leverage our aftermarket suppliers to do,” she said. “Having both (Ford and aftermarket products) gives our customers the option to make their Mustang whatever they want it to be.”

Ford first in OEM TechTalks series

The TechTalks event was held at SEMA’s 45,000-square-foot Detroit-area research and testing facility, where members have access to tools and other resources to help them create and prototype new products. The California-based trade organization has more than 7,000 members, which includes manufacturers, distributors, retailers, auto restorers, and others. Ford is the first automaker to take part in the TechTalks series, while other OEMs are expected to participate in future events. 

After a brief presentation by the Mustang team, Ford’s subject matter experts took a wide swath of questions from the group of about 20 SEMA members gathered. Ford’s representatives also prompted those in attendance for feedback about how their customers want to personalize their Mustangs and what Ford can do to make their jobs easier as they modify their clients’ vehicles.  

“There’s opportunity for more collaboration and more sharing of data, with us being able to provide them more information to help them customize our vehicles,” Transou said. “The information coming from SEMA membership helps us better understand the future of accessories, what are our customers asking for, and how might we partner with them to deliver it.”

Growth for EV aftermarket

Mustang Mach-E Program Manager Peter Schultz said the aftermarket is transitioning to offer products for electric vehicles in step with the automotive industry’s shift to EVs.

“Just as Mustang and its electrification is evolving, the aftermarket is also trying to figure out where they fit into the equation,” he said, noting that Ford is using its always-on approach to identify potential product opportunities. “We got a couple really good ideas today from a couple of the SEMA members that we’re going to be looking into.”

Ford Performance Parts Planning and Strategy Supervisor Ryan Long expects demand for EV customization to increase in the coming years. He said the company will continue to evaluate demand for new products before they go into development.

“We have to look at those customers and where their interests are and make sure there are enough customers for us to support that interest,” he said.

Up close and hands on

The SEMA members in attendance had the opportunity to inspect and measure two of Ford’s EV models up close: the Mustang Mach-E, the 2024 model that Ford recently announced will perform 0-60 mph in just 3.3 seconds – faster than both the Tesla Model Y Performance and Porsche Macan 4 Electric – when equipped with the Mustang Mach-E GT Performance Upgrade; and Mustang Mach-E Rally, which Schultz called “our most rebellious Mach-E we’ve come up with so far.” The Mustang Dark Horse, Ford’s first new performance series Mustang in 21 years, and Mustang GT were also on display. Members had the opportunity to discuss the vehicles with Ford’s subject matter experts on hand.