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Ford compensating Mustang Mach-E buyers for delays amid strong demand

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DETROIT — Ford Motor Co. ate into Tesla’s share of the electric vehicle market in February, but it’s taking longer than expected to deliver some Mustang Mach-E crossovers. Ford is compensating for the delays by doubling thousands of owners’ free charging allotment and covering a few hundred buyers’ first payment.

The automaker sent a letter Tuesday to some 4,500 Mach-E buyers informing them of the delay as their electric crossovers undergo additional quality checks. Ford said the buyers would receive an extra 250 kilowatt-hours of free charging for the trouble. Additionally, Ford said it would cover the first month’s payment of up to $1,000 for 250 owners.

The letter was signed by Andrew Frick, Ford’s vice president of sales in the U.S. and Canada. A Mach-E owners forum posted the text of the letter late Tuesday.

A Ford spokeswoman declined to discuss the reason for the delay but said the company hoped to deliver the vehicles before the 30-day time frame was up.

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It’s not the first delay for the new vehicle; Ford in January said “several hundred” crossovers were undergoing additional quality checks that would delay delivery by up to eight weeks. A spokeswoman said the company was able to deliver those vehicles sooner but that it’s possible some of those who learned of their delay in January also received this week’s letter.

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Despite the delays, the Mach-E already is cutting into Tesla Inc.’s dominant share of the electric vehicle market, according to a Wall Street analyst who has long been bullish on the Elon Musk-led automaker.

Adam Jonas, head of global auto and shared mobility research at Morgan Stanley, said in a note that Tesla’s share of U.S. battery-electric sales fell to 69 percent in February from 81 percent a year earlier. He said the Mach-E was responsible for “nearly 100 percent of the share loss.”

Ford on Wednesday reported U.S. sales of 3,739 Mach-E crossovers in February, noting that roughly 70 percent of orders have come from customers new to the Ford brand. The vehicles are sitting on dealer lots an average of just four days before being sold, Ford said.

Ford has taken aim at Tesla since the vehicle’s November 2019 reveal in an airplane hangar next to Tesla’s design center in Hawthorne, Calif. CEO Jim Farley referred to the vehicle on an earnings call last month as the “first credible mass-market competitor to Tesla.”

Jonas, who publicly sparred with Farley’s predecessor, Jim Hackett, on earnings calls for a lack of detail about the company’s plans, was complimentary on Ford’s call with Farley last month.

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“So first off, I just have to say the Mach-E kicks ass,” Jonas said, noting that he showed up to test the vehicle in his own Tesla Model Y. “I got back in the Y and I have to admit I have some regrets.”

It was a change in tune from late last year, when Jonas downgraded Ford largely because of its EV strategy, which he said was not clear. Ford has since announced plans to roughly double its investment in electrified vehicles and sell only EVs in Europe by 2030.

Ford has said the first year of Mach-E production would be limited to 50,000 vehicles, although it’s unclear how many orders the company has booked.

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