Like Mustang and Bronco? Good, 'Cause Ford Is Working on More Sub-Brands

Ford's built wild branding activity is here for the long haul.

ford mustang mach e gt

The sub-brand craze has taken the automotive marketing world by storm, with companies spawning new brands within brands like an Inception meme from the early 2010s. Ford has been one of the major innovators on that front; it's expanding Mustang to the "Mach-E" and not only making multiple new Broncos, but even allowing standalone Bronco stores / dealerships. The reasoning is simple: "Mustang" and "Bronco" have more caché than "Ford" does.

If you've had your fill of Ford's Built Wild branding activity and hope the trend will blow over, prepare to be disappointed. More sub-brands are coming. As Ford CEO Jim Farley recently noted to Motor Trend, he "made it very clear when we rolled out the plan that we're going to create new passion brands too."

We don't quite know what the next sub-brand will be. The company's clear tent pole is the F-150 pickup. But F-150 denotes one specific model of car; Ford can't quite turn the Ranger into the F-150 Sport, the F-250 into the F-150 XL and the Maverick into the F-150 Mini. There's not as much equity in "F-Series," and besides, Lexus is already using "F."

2021 ford f 150 raptor

"Raptor," however, seems like a natural sub-brand fit. Ford will likely have Raptor versions of the F-150, Ranger and Bronco in the next few years. However, the Bronco trim could end up being called Warthog. You could also see Ford tap the Ford v. Ferrari nostalgia and play up "GT" for high-performance trims and maybe future electric performance cars. We may get an eventual EV sub-brand when Ford begins cranking out more of them on a dedicated EV platform, as well.

What we do know is that Ford will continue doing the sub-brand thing — because it's working. They have more than 125,000 Bronco orders in the book; the Bronco Sport nearly equaled the sales numbers of the entire Lincoln division in Q1; and while the Mustang Mach E may not be a proper Mustang (whatever that means, 'cause remember, the marque has produced some stinkers), but Ford has still sold nearly 7,000 of them so far this year.


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