Ford’s Mustang Mach 1 marketing material mix-up has led to the Blue Oval brand paying $52,380 in penalties.
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) issued the company with four infringement notices for allegedly misleading consumers about the standard features of the Mustang Mach 1.
The factual errors were contained in four different versions of Mustang brochures, including print and online.
“We allege Ford made serious mistakes in its brochures outlining the features of the more expensive Mustang Mach 1, resulting in false claims being made to consumers in breach of the Australian Consumer Law,” said ACCC Chair Rod Sims.
“The performance characteristics of the Ford Mustang Mach 1 were an important selling point, so these claims about key features of the Mach 1 vehicle may have led some consumers to buy the car who may otherwise have opted to purchase another vehicle.”
The brochures advised the following features were standard:
- Torsen limited-slip differential
- Rear parking sensors
- LED fog lamps
- Mustang Mach 1 floor mats
- Ambient lighting in door pockets
The ACCC also found three of the brochures mentioned the Mach 1 had adaptive cruise control, which isn’t the case.
“We began investigating this issue after a number of consumers complained to us about the Mustang Mach 1 brochures and, as a result of ACCC intervention, Ford improved its compensation offer to hundreds of affected consumers,” Mr Sims said.
Ford Australia has issued a statement, which we’ve included at the bottom of this article.
It’s not the first time the ACCC has stung Ford. In 2018 it fined the company $10 million over complaints about cars using its PowerShift automatic transmission.
After rectifying the mistake in its material in April, Ford made an offer to unhappy customers in June of three free services plus a Ford Performance Experience.
Ford subsequently expanded its compensation offer to include either a full refund of buyers’ deposit or purchase price, or a cash payment of $5400 plus the initial offer.
This applied to all customers who bought a Mach 1 before August 17, 2021. Customers who bought one after this date aren’t entitled to the refund option.
Most Mach 1s were purchased before this date, and the entire allocation has now been accounted for. It’s not a part of the 2022 line-up, with the range now topped by a California Special – effectively an appearance package for the GT.
Details of the 2022 range – plus details of the updated Fiesta ST and Focus ST – were announced the same day as the ACCC published its media release on the Mach 1 penalties.
The more track-focused Mach 1 was initially advertised as having a Torsen limited-slip differential like its left-hand drive counterpart, however Ford Australia has confirmed the right-hand drive Mach 1 instead uses the same 3.55:1 rear differential as the Mustang GT and the now-defunct Bullitt.
The 3.73:1 Torsen differential is standard on US-market Mach 1 models and uses internal gears instead of clutch packs.
As for rear parking sensors and adaptive cruise control, these aren’t offered on any Mach 1 despite their availability across the rest of the Mustang range.
“The Mustang Mach 1 is a purpose built product with a singular aim – to be the ultimate driving Mustang on the road and track,” said a Ford Australia spokesperson earlier this year.
“Uniquely engineered parts, which are designed to improve downforce and cooling on the Mach 1, unfortunately mean that the vehicle does not feature Adaptive Cruise Control or audible rear sensors while parking.”
The use of the Shelby GT350’s lower light assembly also means there are no fog lights, while there are incandescent parking lights.
The Mach 1 coupe was priced at $83,365 before on-road costs in both manual and auto guise, or around $20,000 more than a GT manual.
When Ford Australia first announced the Mach 1 was coming Down Under, it confirmed the performance flagship would already be missing out on some items available in the US.
These include blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert, plus Grabber Yellow, Iconic Silver and Race Red exterior colour options.
We also miss out on the optional Handling Package, which adds special 19-inch aluminium wheels with Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tyres, plus adjustable top strut mounts, a front splitter, and a rear spoiler with a Gurney flap borrowed from the Shelby GT500.
Our Mach 1 also produces 345kW of power and 556Nm of torque from its naturally-aspirated 5.0-litre Coyote V8, down 13kW and 14Nm on the US-spec model though still up 6kW on the Australian-spec GT.
Like the US-spec model, however, our Mach 1 features a retuned suspension with recalibrated MagneRide adaptive dampers, springs, anti-roll bars and bushes, plus retuned steering.
The active exhaust has also been tuned specifically for the Mach 1, while there’s a choice of a 10-speed automatic transmission or a Mach 1-exclusive Tremec six-speed manual with rev-matching.
The Mach 1 borrows some pieces from the discontinued Shelby GT350 and the fire-breathing Shelby GT500.
Its rear axle cooler and lower diffuser come from the Shelby GT500, while its intake manifold and engine oil cooler come from the Shelby GT350.
“There are always small specification differences between left-hand drive and right-hand drive Mustangs. Not recognising a few of these differences specific to the Mach 1 – features that were never available to us – was an oversight by us as the local team,” said a spokesperson for Ford Australia.
“We didn’t catch these differences before the first rounds of brochures and the website were published, and for this, we are really sorry.
“We are especially disappointed that our loyal and engaged Ford customers and Mach 1 owners feel let down.
“We have undertaken a review of how the errors came to be made and implemented preventative measures to seek to ensure that the process causes leading to the errors are not repeated in future.”
MORE: Everything Ford Mustang