Automotive stereotypes have existed for just about as long as the internal combustion engine has been around. Some of the more (relatively) lighthearted examples include that a Ford Mustang driver is sure to plow into a crowd of people at a car show while doing an ill-advised burnout, or that BMW drivers have the distinctive inability to flick their turn signal.
Even automakers get into driver stereotypes under the guise of “market research.” And the Blue Oval may be showcasing how it views EV drivers compared to those who still pilot internal combustion models.
Ford may think EV buyers would scoff at smoking
Ford may have inadvertently shown what it believes is a key difference between EV and ICE buyers with its “Smoker’s Package.” The Smoker’s Package is a bit of a throwback to yesteryear as it includes a cupholder ashtray and in-car cigarette lighter. The optional add-on isn’t cheap—it rings in at $75. But hey, when was the last time you heard a smoker say the practice is affordable?
The Smoker’s Package could underscore Ford’s beliefs on ICE vs. EV buyers because it is available on several models, including the Escape and Expedition, two SUVs that happened to be powered exclusively by internal combustion engines. However, the Smoker’s Package is not available on the Blue Oval’s sole mainstream EV, the Mustang Mach-E.
This suggests Ford believes EV buyers, or those interested in making the switch to all-electric power, might shun the idea of smoking.
To be stereotypical, Ford may imagine Mach-E buyers are those who buy shoes made from recycled ocean plastic. They bring their own grocery bags to their local mega-mart (though they proudly say they’d rather just buy everything from the weekly farmer’s market down the street). They have organic shampoo made from natural products.
In Ford’s mind, they like the Mach-E for its lack of emissions and use of synthetic leather (the Expedition only comes with genuine leather in upper trims, it should be noted). They tried a cigarette once in high school and vowed never to consume tobacco for the rest of their lives—for the sake of their own health and that of the planet’s.
Whereas Ford may view those interested in the Escape and the Expedition or other ICE cars as more traditionalist. Yes, they still smoke, even though they are fully aware it’s terrible for their health, thank you very much.
They don’t really understand kilowatt hours or charging architectures, and frankly, they don’t care. They aren’t going to make the switch anytime soon because, didn’t you hear how much it cost to replace one of those batteries? And what if they want to take a long road trip? They don’t mind stopping at a gas station for a fill up because it gives them the opportunity to buy more smokes.
The smoker’s stereotype
The above examples are, of course, extreme generalizations, but Ford offering the Smoker’s Package on several internal combustion cars and not on its EV is probably not by chance.
Market research is a major consideration for automakers, and there could exist some internal Ford document that simply states only 6% of prospective EV buyers are smokers while 31% of ICE buyers still light up, according to the Department of Statistics We Just Made Up.
But for any smokers, whether they are interested in a Mach-E or Expedition, Ford’s Smoker’s Package is an expensive way to continue an expensive habit. A quick look around online and you can find a similar ashtray and lighter for about $20—a figure straight from MotorBiscuit’s ‘Department of Consumer Advice You Never Asked For.’