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Why Ford keeps using horse names for cars

Posted on 27 May 2015

Have you ever noticed that Ford seems to have an affinity for horses? It's true. Just look at all of Ford’s cars with horse names. As one of the world's leading manufacturers of consumer friendly cars, Ford does well in every market it is involved in. Choosing horse names is not the reason for that success, but the names identify well with consumers. Let us look at some of those names and the cars that go with them.

Ford Mustang

The Ford Mustang is arguably the most recognised car in the world with a horse name. Since its introduction in 1963, the Mustang has been one of the best-selling models for the Ford Motor Company. Through six generations and endless tweaks to improve performance and styling, Ford has sold millions of Mustangs over the years. Their best year was 1966 when they sold over 607,000. That was the same year the Mustang broke the 1 million mark as well.

The Mustang is now available in the UK after decades of waiting. It is not quite in showrooms yet, but Ford UK is taking orders for autumn delivery. If you have ever dreamed of owning a classic American muscle car in a right-hand drive version, consider an investment in the Mustang.

Ford Mustang 2015 Race Red

Ford Bronco

Ford was ahead of its time when it introduced its first SUV known as the Bronco in 1966. The Bronco enjoyed a successful 30-year run as a direct competitor to comparable vehicles from Jeep, Land Rover, and International Harvester. For classification purposes, car experts divide the history of the Bronco into two categories: early Broncos produced from 1966-1977 and full-size Broncos built from 1978-1996.

The Bronco was originally just a concept vehicle that company chairperson Lee Iacocca decided to push into production in the 60s. As with most other Ford vehicles, the appeal of the Bronco to consumers was its affordability compared to competitors. Car buyers loved it so much that the Bronco kept going even in the midst of the 1970s fuel crunch.

White Ford Bronco 1990

Ford Pinto

The Ford Pinto, although also named after a horse, did not enjoy the same success as the Mustang and Bronco. The Pinto was a two-door sub-compact introduced in 1971 to compete with other fuel-efficient cars from Toyota, Volkswagen, Datsun, and AMC. Approximately 3 million were sold in the car's nine-year run. Unfortunately, controversy over a fuel tank issue led to the demise of the Pinto. A subsequent report published in 1991 did not clear Ford of all wrongdoing in the case, but it clearly demonstrated that a good portion of the case against the carmaker was terribly overblown.

Ford Pinto 1973

Other Horse References

Ford made other cars over the years that were not named directly after horses but, rather, for ranching. For example, the Maverick was named after the unbranded calf of a cow or steer. Horses are routinely used by ranchers driving such cattle to and from feeding areas. Other examples include the Ranchero, Ranch Wagon, and Sierra.

As you can see, the number of Ford cars with horse names or names related to horses and ranching is extensive. Perhaps it has something to do with Mr Ford growing up on a farm. Who knows? At any rate, all of the cars listed above have their strengths and weaknesses that go well beyond their names.

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Ford Ranchero 1958
Ford Ranch Wagon 1959
Ford Sierra 1985


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