Let the records show that on Thursday, August 28, Ford Motor Co. officially began the production of the sixth-generation iconic Mustang, opening a new global chapter in the history of the famed brand. For the first time in its five-decade life, the Mustang will see some sales action outside of North American walls, as the new model will be on sale in 120 different countries and, also for the first time, available in a right-hand drive format.
The new Mustang has been fully redesigned and offers some new engine options. It starts at $24,425, about 4.7 percent more than the base outgoing model, Bloomberg observed. Despite its higher price tag, Ford is counting on its new international markets to help boost sales, as Chevrolet’s Camaro has outsold the Mustang for the last four consecutive years, the site added. Executive Chairman Bill Ford has called the Mustang the company’s “most important product,” and from a brand point of view, it’s hard to argue with that.
“It’s been designed to be accepted globally,” Michael Robinet, an analyst at IHS Automotive, told Bloomberg. “But there’s still a lot of traditional American design in that vehicle. That’s the allure of it.” The Mustang retains its iconic three-bar tail lights, the slight overbite of the hood, and the classic pony car shape.
“Mustang is and will continue to be an automotive icon,” Joe Hinrichs, the Ford president of the Americas, said in Ford’s statement. “Expanding its availability globally affords our customers around the world the opportunity to have a true firsthand Mustang experience – one unlike any other.”
The Mustang is being built at Ford’s Flat Rock production facility in Detroit, alongside the Fusion sedan. Bloomberg notes that despite sharing a production line, there’s little similarity between the two vehicles on a component level. “If sales take off for either model, Ford could add a third crew of workers at the plant and boost annual production to more than 300,000 vehicles, from about 220,000 now,” Bloomberg quoted Robinet as saying.
Sales of the Mustang have strengthened for a 3.9 percent gain so far this year, after a 7 percent plummet to 77,186 units in total last year. The Camaro, meanwhile, has been enjoying a 13 percent uptick through July to 56,633 units sold, after declinging 4.5 percent to 80,567 in all of last year. The Camaro was redesigned for 2009, and overtook the Mustang in 2010, which put an end to Ford’s 24-year leadership with the top-selling sports car in the U.S., Bloomberg said.
The golden age of the Mustang was about 45-50 years ago, however, in the 1960s when Ford was cranking out 600,000 Mustang cars per year. It has since enjoyed a lucrative movie and TV career in many different applications, helping solidify itself as an American brand mainstay.
The new Mustang will be available with a base V6 engine that produces 300 horsepower, a 310 horsepower turbocharged EcoBoost-branded four-cylinder, and a 435 horsepower 5.0 liter V8 for the GT trim. It now boasts independent rear suspension, and a new perimeter subframe helps to stiffen the structure while reducing mass, Ford says. In short, it’s expected to be the best-handling Mustang to date, and more useful when not on a drag strip — to help it be more capable on the twisting European roads that it will soon be calling home.