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Ford's 2015 Mustang Is Risky

I have a unique perspective on Ford's (NYSE: F  ) upcoming 2015 model Mustang. As you can see from the personal photo below, I drive a mustang and I love it. On the other hand, I'm also a Ford investor and understand the need to make the next Mustang part of a global platform to expand sales. This design change will likely be the biggest challenge the Mustang has faced in its lifetime. It also faces another challenge – General Motors' (NYSE: GM  ) Camaro. The Camaro has topped the Mustang the last three years in U.S. unit sales and sports a flashy redesign. Let's look at these two issues and see what Ford has in mind for the secretive 2015 Mustang.

Photo credit: Author

Global or bust
The driver in me cringes when I imagine the style change that the Mustang would need to attract a much different European consumer. It just wouldn't be the same bold, iconic muscle car, because that strategy doesn't work outside of the U.S. market. It would likely take the muscle car and make it smaller and more modern -- the opposite of the retro look it has now. Ford also has to make sure its model isn't too different so that it can take back the sales lead in the U.S. market from GM's Camaro. If it goes with a more European style in its design, it risks losing even more ground. As an investor I cringe at the thought of alienating the cult following that the Mustang has had for decades.

I cringe even more at the idea of alienating both markets by creating something too big and inefficient for Europe, and too Euro-inspired for the U.S. market. Martin Smith, chief of Ford Europe design, admitted that the challenge represents a fine line to walk. "That is a really interesting challenge," Smith said at the Geneva auto show. "What will emerge from that whole process is one of the best sports cars in the world and one that is still affordable."

The current retro look is appealing to the Baby Boomers and the Generation X crowd, but the millennials have taken to it less enthusiastically. I guess that makes me an oddity, but that's the market information Ford has collected and it has to act on it. If they ignore the millennial generation, they risk giving the Mustang a slow but sure death. The millennial generation will soon be the top-spending age group -- the 2015 Mustang will have the difficult job of attracting all three generations with its design.

Speaking of evolution, this represents a drastic change in fuel efficiency expectations for the Mustang. My 2010 GT gets a meager 18-19 miles per gallon, which makes it difficult to attract a more fuel-conscious consumer -- a trend that is quickly gaining momentum. Ford might be taking steps to resolve its Mustang fuel-efficiency problem with the rumor of an EcoBoost 2.7-liter, four-cylinder engine that would produce over 300 horsepower and bring highway fuel use near 30 miles per gallon. I must admit, it's a very intriguing option, but it certainly won't replace the V8 option right away, as Ford will try and appease the core Mustang fan base.

Investor vs. driver
Ford is at a fork in the road when it comes to its next-generation model. The Mustang alone outsold the entire Lincoln brand last year, and represents immense value to Ford's iconic brand image. As both a driver and investor, one thing I feel reassured about is the amount of options Ford has before it and the flexibility the company exhibits. It can offer a smaller EcoBoost engine to Europe, while maintaining the muscle car V8 style in the U.S.

Investors will have to watch this evolution unfold because it will have effects on multiple fronts. It will redefine the iconic Mustang versus Camaro feud that has existed for decades. It could catapult Mustang sales much higher globally. It all comes down to management and marketing being able to walk a very fine line between very different consumers. But you know what, if Ford has proven one thing since the recession, it's proven that it has solid management and marketing. Let's hope that doesn't change, for your sake and mine – as investors and drivers.

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Read/Post Comments (69) | Recommend This Article (25)

Comments from our Foolish Readers

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  • Report this Comment On March 29, 2013, at 9:01 AM, mikeymcd wrote:

    A wise man once said, "You can't be all things to all people." Ford shouldn't try.

    Make the Mustang purely "American" in style and people will embrace that.

  • Report this Comment On March 29, 2013, at 9:13 AM, 1brokeford wrote:

    I read this article with great interset but couldn't wonder if the Camero doesn't face the same challenges in the Eurpean Market also?? How do think they will precieve the new Z-28?? Pure power big diplacement engines with torque to spare are still an "AMERICAN " tradition. We developed it,breed it and will enjoy it as long as they have 8 cylinders in a block.

    Also, I didn't realize the Camero outsold the Mustang last year?? Here in the Carolina's (North, South). I don't believe that was quite the story

    Bottom Line---the American loves pure POWER!!

  • Report this Comment On March 29, 2013, at 9:16 AM, luckyagain wrote:

    What is needed is a V8 with the fuel economy of a 4. It has been tried before by "disconnecting" 1/2 of the engine from firing. So far none has worked very well, see the Cadillac 8-6-4 motor of years ago.

  • Report this Comment On March 29, 2013, at 9:19 AM, statikat wrote:

    The Mustang will pull through. Remember The Mustang II. Many thought that was the death of the Mustang, now their becoming collectable. I myself am restoring one To keep its core base Ford just needs to keep a specialty line Cobra, Boss, Mach ect. The only reason I will jump ship if they stick a horse on a focus and call it a stang.

  • Report this Comment On March 29, 2013, at 9:25 AM, GT500FAN wrote:

    It is certainly time to refresh the Mustang styling as there is not much difference styling wise between a 2010 GT500 and a 2013 GT500. I just hope they don't go too far away from the retro look, Gen Xers and Euros be damned. They also simply cannot back down to Guvmint Motors on the horsepower war. They still hold a comfortable lead there even if the live axle does hold them back on the handling front.

  • Report this Comment On March 29, 2013, at 9:29 AM, bungly wrote:

    camero (sp)

    collectable (sp)

    Educated !

  • Report this Comment On March 29, 2013, at 9:34 AM, paulc2013 wrote:

    Yes, I'm an old guy. Yes, I own a 2013 Mustang. Yes, I have the 310 HP 6 cylinder.

    I love the car, love the styling, the power is okay for an old guy (I NEVER have merging issues). The mileage is good. The full electronics are awesome.

    Hey, yesterday I even had three young guys in their 30s looking at me park it with envy.

    I disagree with Dan Miller. The Mustang is here to stay.

  • Report this Comment On March 29, 2013, at 9:37 AM, nobdy wrote:

    Sure America takes credit for creating the Muscle car, the powerful cars every young man lust after and the Euro elites scoff at but the truth is “our” car culture is more alive in Australia than it is in the states. Most of the rear wheel drives platforms we have today originated in the land down under and migrated to the states where we see them as Camaros and Cadillacs.

    I admit to liking the retro styling on many cars but what the Mustang needs to do to be a long term success is something different. It needs to be a refined design to appeal to the world but it needs to keep some of that brute force mystic that we Americans and many car enthusiast around the world so enjoy.

  • Report this Comment On March 29, 2013, at 9:38 AM, willys36 wrote:

    Mustang II, here we come. That was a smashing success, "all things to all people" design, now wasn't it? GM and Chrysler are gone, might as well throw away Phord too.

  • Report this Comment On March 29, 2013, at 9:39 AM, louislouis1952 wrote:

    I own a 2011 GT. I've owned five Mustangs and this one is the best ever produced (along with the current line of V-8's and 6's). Ford will lose my interest if it radically changes the path and turns the Mustang into a Euro-car. Yes there are ways to improve the interior, but overall, it's what a Mustang should be. Right now it is the perfect vehicle. Changing it to look like every other Japanese or Korean or European Coupe is a huge mistake and I won't buy in. A SCION BOX isn't a muscle car. It's driven by Hamsters for goodness sake. Mustangs are driven by men (and hot women).

  • Report this Comment On March 29, 2013, at 9:43 AM, GTODD66 wrote:

    While I am not a "Mustang Guy", I love cars and articles, stories about cars. This was a good read, kudos to the writer. Nice car also! Happy Motoring!

  • Report this Comment On March 29, 2013, at 9:45 AM, wildcatwildchad wrote:

    Ford shouldn't worry too much. The Mustang is an American tradition that has never missed a year sense 64'. The Camaro took a break between 2002-2010. The way that I would spear head this problem is just like Ford put another vision in the mustang line. Just like you have the GT, Boss, Saleen, Roush, Mach 1 and the GT500, add a European edition at the same price line as the GT. This would make the Mustang sale market go through the roof not just overseas, but here at home. This would also be a big attraction for European consumers in the states and raise the eyes of your overseas consumers. I'm in the U.S. Army I have owned 3 mustang 2002 GT, 2005 GT and a 2010 GT, and I hear a lot what people want, but what is not availble.

    SGT Alexander, Chad V

  • Report this Comment On March 29, 2013, at 9:47 AM, louislouis1952 wrote:

    Luckyagain is looking for MPG. While my GT regularly tops 26 MPG on the highway, it often gets more and rarely gets less than 21 overall. Having said that, people don't buy Mustangs to save $500 a year on fuel. If you do, then you ought to be buying a Prius with all the other pretty liberals. A Mustang isn't about MPG, though Ford has done an amazing job of squeezing the asphalt out underneath it. A Mustang along with the Challenger and Camero (both which lack in performance just slightly) are wonderful tributes to the American Spirit. They are reminders that we are American and a free people, not part of some one world global enterprise governed by narcissist sycophants. You want 40 MPG, please don't ask Ford, Chevy or Dodge to deliver it in a muscle car. Run over to Toyota and then when driving, get the hell out of our way.

  • Report this Comment On March 29, 2013, at 9:57 AM, rinkraptor wrote:

    If it doesn't look like a Mustang, it isn't a Mustang. You cannot make me believe that the monstrosity that Chevrolet calls a Camaro is more appealing than the Mustang to anyone but a minority of people having bad taste in cars.

  • Report this Comment On March 29, 2013, at 10:05 AM, LungsOfSteel wrote:

    The Camaro wasn't redesigned - it has had a facelift. There's a big difference there! With all due respect to the writer, just because you own a Mustang doesn't mean you automatically know the auto industry, but the business insights are but one ingredient to it.

  • Report this Comment On March 29, 2013, at 10:07 AM, LungsOfSteel wrote:

    Another thing: The government is mandating fuel economy standards, which ends up compromising the development of vehicles. This is a struggle even bigger than Ford's job of evolving the Mustang brand to a global environment. While I firmly believe in the creativity of engineers in getting over hurdles, it's an unnecessary hurdle created by bureaucrats who think they know what's best for us.

  • Report this Comment On March 29, 2013, at 10:14 AM, racineguy wrote:

    I have owned two Mustangs in the past. I don't know why Ford wants to change the things that that made the Mustang a success all these years. It is right on target for the American market, along with the Camaro and Challenger.

    Why alienate the people who actually buy the Mustang. Compromise cars don't sell. I don't think it will sell well in Europe no matter how Euro they design it. The critics in Europe don't like American cars no matter how good they are. If Ford had to, they could re-skin the sheetmetal and sell it under the Capri name in Europe.

  • Report this Comment On March 29, 2013, at 10:15 AM, Rickycardo wrote:

    I've owned many muscle cars over the years and several Mustangs. I currently have a 2011 GT/CS convertible. I love the car but it needs to be more modern. My car is missing 4 things to make it perfect: a supercharger, telescoping steering wheel, paddle shifter gearbox and an IRS. As soon as the warranty's up I will be adding those items myself. I hope the 2015 model comes with them or I might be trading up to a Taurus SHO.

  • Report this Comment On March 29, 2013, at 10:27 AM, Shellbe wrote:

    I own a 2012 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 and it is an awesome car. I also understand the economics of being a global competitor. I would suggest Ford create a Mustang line for Europe and keep the Amercian version also. This way it is a win win situation. The plants could be set up to build both models or have decated plants for each version. Just a thought.

  • Report this Comment On March 29, 2013, at 10:27 AM, PhilSquares wrote:

    I don't currently own a Mustang or Camaro - have owned both in past years. If Ford screws up the design of the Mustang - it is time to buy a Mustang and put it away to watch the value increase.

  • Report this Comment On March 29, 2013, at 10:30 AM, Batterycap wrote:

    Risky? How about assigning a 99% chance of failure to this alteration. With it's committe driven, PC focused, green mindset, there is no way we won't see anything other than a front-wheel drive twin turbo 4 cylinder out of this group. Of course, as a sacrifice to the gods of green, it will have "Eco" plastered somewhere on the side of it with some sprouting green leaves. The committee is about to once and for all squander its inheritance.

    Hello Mustang III. Meet Swiffer. You'll need one to see through the dust on these low powered roller skates as they protect one small section of asphalt from the rain for months on end.

  • Report this Comment On March 29, 2013, at 10:32 AM, rdmcdonald48 wrote:

    You may, possibly, see a re-birth of the Mustang II in order to cater to the mpg conscious crowd. And, it's not something that would not sell either. If you put this Mustang styling (a mini-Mustang or a "pony" version) on a Focus platform with the Focus power plant, driveline and mpg; there are those in the market who would buy it. However, I would not put it in "mass" production, but with enough "Mustang" style and panache to make it a "Limited Edition" run with a break-even goal for production to sales revenue to see how the public accepts or rejects it before going into mass production. If it succeeds, you may then even see a two Mustang family; one driven daily as a commuter car while the "muscle" version is the weekend and vacation driver.

  • Report this Comment On March 29, 2013, at 10:37 AM, FloridaDelivery wrote:

    Quickest way to kill off the Mustang is to put a 4 cylinder motor in it. Think back to when it came out - it had a lame straight 6. THOSE, by chance, are not the highly valued ones for collectors. Those are the LEAST desired ones.

    The body style is good, and will endure the test of time, much as the Bug and the 911 design.

    I wouldn't suggest playing with tiny motor options in order to achieve MPG - that will only hurt the Mustang's image.

    Anyone want a 65 convertible with a straight six, no power steering and auto trans? The convertible that body flexed on road bumps so that the doors wouldn't open...

    If people want MPG - they buy another product that has a branding in that market. A 3 cylinder Geo Metro is an example.

    The Mustang never was marketed as an econo-wagon. Trying to do so will only hurt it. Stick a 4 cylinder engine in a Mustang? Might as well produce a station wagon version - like the Pinto.

    Mustang equates = muscle, sports car.

    Keep it that way. People with $$ will buy the car, and can spend the $$ on the gas bill, and then buy a 2nd econo-box for their daily grocery getter.

  • Report this Comment On March 29, 2013, at 10:40 AM, Y2KPONY13 wrote:

    Take a look at CarScoops rendering of the 2015 Mustang on their blog site. The front end is what I saw when I went to a focus group in Orange County California last year. The fronat end looked EXACTLY like a Fusion with a Mustang emblem in the grille. I'm hoping that was just for feedback only and will never see a showroom floor.

    However, I am still concerned that Ford will make a monumental mistake. They have to realize, you can't make everyone happy with a single car. Why not make a real Mustang for the American faithful and use that chassis for the European car, but with totally different styling? Remember the Probe? Ford almost replaced the Mustang with that. Thank God the Mustang purists spoke up and prevented that. But then again, the Probe was a fantastic car, they're still building it, right?????

  • Report this Comment On March 29, 2013, at 10:42 AM, jfelano wrote:

    Are you aware Ford is over 100 billion dollars in debt? I wouldn't invest in that.

  • Report this Comment On March 29, 2013, at 10:43 AM, hodelmark wrote:

    European sports cars are primarily about handling. Exquisite and precise. If the Mustang can compete with BMW Audi Mercedes etc on that level then it can sell in Europe. A stretch for a car made primarily for straight line power, but not impossible. Ford owns Jaguar so maybe they could pick up a thing or two from little brother.

  • Report this Comment On March 29, 2013, at 10:46 AM, FloridaDelivery wrote:

    With the gov CAFE MPG fleet standards - Ford will have to balance their poor gas performers with a herd of Fiesta econo-boxes to balance out the difference. Still - leave the Mustang as a MUSCLE machine - do not castrate it with the ultimate indignity of being found with a 4 cylinder engine.

    Then - there are always those aftermarket organizations such as Rousch Racing, Greenwood for the Vette, and other specialty HP shops that take production line models off the the floor shipped bare and add on the "goodies" (at a decent markup). Those machines do not count in the CAFE MPG fleet standards.

    Ford could offer a V6 base model with about 200 hp and still retain the good body styling. The HP shops could take that base model and tweak it into a 600 HP monster.

    But - a 4 cylinder 2.0 liter Mustang? No. Brings mach horror memories of the Mustang II days from the 1970's. Anyone recall that disaster? How collectable are THOSE cars? Exactly.

  • Report this Comment On March 29, 2013, at 10:50 AM, jeff7232 wrote:

    Since the introduction of the new Camaro it has topped sales of the Mustang. I own a Camaro and never a Mustang. Always been a Ford vs Chevy or Mustang vs Camaro. Now with all the rice burners things have changed. I do not want to see Ford make a mistake and introduce something like the Mustang 2, that car was puke. Have to keep the Camaro, Mustang and Challenger around with their current styles and horse power choices.

    @rinkraptor maybe it is you that has a bad taste in cars.

  • Report this Comment On March 29, 2013, at 11:00 AM, drager84 wrote:

    First of all, You will never replaced a V8 Mustang completely because you can't make the same power and feel when you just stomp on the gas pedal.

    Second, Personally I can get 26 MPG out of my 2008 Mustang GT. Its all about driving the car correctly. Get to 5th gear as quick as possible and leave space around you so your not braking all the time and you will get good fuel economy number in the city. Plus it help to change the oil with full synthetic every 3000- 5000 miles.

    You can get great fuel economy numbers out of V8 cars and trucks if geared correctly and driven right. Give me a good V8 any day of the week and I will show you a fun car to drive.

  • Report this Comment On March 29, 2013, at 11:16 AM, DRayZ wrote:

    To the management of Ford Motor Company,

    Remember Coca Cola Classic?

  • Report this Comment On March 29, 2013, at 11:38 AM, aero60 wrote:

    Even GM knows with the articles on the Corvette that the V8 is doomed as long as the EPA gas mileage is not changed. If they want a Mustang for export than build a different car for that. Many fof the Japanese cars build for the US don't fit on Japanese roads

  • Report this Comment On March 29, 2013, at 11:41 AM, george26227 wrote:

    Despite Ford's decision to possibly re-design the Mustang, the model suffered bad decisions in the past few decades (you remember don't you, car designers). What made the Mustang so popular in the beginning; the awesome design. The retro look revived it again, notwithstanding the huge H/P and performance enhancements. Carrol, unfortunately, isn't here to ask his opinion.

  • Report this Comment On March 29, 2013, at 11:52 AM, americnhrlygrl wrote:

    Chevy always has and always will produce a better car. Weather it be style or performance. I own a 2011 Camaro and 2003 Silverado. I have 230,??? miles on my truck andd have replaced lights.I know we're talking mustang vs. camaro but i have to point out manufacturer in general. Have friends with Fords wouldn't be caught on the side of the road in them.

  • Report this Comment On March 29, 2013, at 11:56 AM, birder1500 wrote:

    How much is Fools paying Yahoo to post these stories on Yahoo?

  • Report this Comment On March 29, 2013, at 12:07 PM, Braincels3 wrote:

    The 2015 Mustang will outclass anything in its class should the designer's be smarter than the average bear ...

    On the exterior, leave it alone

    Under the hood, it's a six-cylinder, 2 Racing DOHC's, redesign the Air Intake(s) which pull from underneath the front end(forced air induction which is mandated for performance). Braking must be included as with this set up now you need to stop the vehicle. Recommended is "DOT5 Brake Fluid and Steel wrapped Brake Lines"(DOT5 will not boil within itself like DOT3).

    Exhaust from the Manifolds to The Cats is increased. Behind The Cats to the Hangers in the rear is opened up with 3" Tubular.

    Suspension is dropped 2" from stock height with Racing Struts & Springs. Tires are "Z Rated" ...

    Chevrolet's release of the Z28 shows that GM is still Old School, heck it took GM 8 Plus years to retool the Camaro's design making it appear to that of their '69 Camaro, "the Icon".

    For the money I would take "the Mustang, the Pony to anything GM could design" ... The rivalry between GM & Ford has and always will be, now Ford needs to once again rethink Old School and build "a Sleeper" that will knock GM off it's platform.

    "Aero-Dynamics creates slip stream flows" yet GM is always trying to figure out how to take "the design of a Brick, or 90 Degree Angles to make air flow pass over it smoothly".

    I'm the designer/owner of Carbon 'n The Machine, Russell, KS(facebook)

  • Report this Comment On March 29, 2013, at 12:11 PM, TKO119 wrote:

    Isnt anyone at Ford old enough to remember or I hope Ford at least had historians write down what happened to the Mustang in the early 80s. They went foreign looking and inspired and really embaressed the Mustang name with a very small, cheaply built, crappy engine and awful look that almost ended the Mustang. It wasnt until they went back to its roots and design and engines that it was revived.

  • Report this Comment On March 29, 2013, at 12:17 PM, SLKCHK wrote:

    I drive a 2013 Mustang. It is the 4th Mustang I have owned, which includes a 1967, 1972 and 2007, and I will never divert to Camaro. Even tho the Camaro is a nice car, as is the Corvette, the Challenger and other sports cars, I will always be faithful to the Mustang - unless they get stupid with the design, like they did in the 80's and 90's. This retro design is the best by far since the Mustang concept came into reality. The 2015 Mustang should be 100% muscle, 100% American. Let the European's drive the Focus.

  • Report this Comment On March 29, 2013, at 12:31 PM, sueice wrote:

    The mustang first came out in 1964 1/2, I had a '65 convertible, so would love to get the 50th year - looking forward to the design, but not the price

  • Report this Comment On March 29, 2013, at 12:58 PM, allrust wrote:

    I'm a car guy and I think the Mustang has a world wide market all ready. Least we forget Ford downsized the Mustang in the 70's and it bombed so badly the Tang was almost history. People who drive cars like the Mustang are ready to put up with the so-so mpg to drive a Muscle car. The car is currently offered with a variety of engines including a fuel efficient V6.

    I assume Mustang sales run well into 6 figures and maybe a million I say leave it alone. My money is in tech stock!

  • Report this Comment On March 29, 2013, at 1:04 PM, Shellbe wrote:

    I made a comment earlier and having read some of the others since then, I have some more thoughts on the subject. I mentioned I own a 2012 Shelby GT500, I also own a 1970 454 Big Block Corvette and a 1993 Mercury Cougar v8 (that I bought new) with 379,000 miles on it and still going strong. Ford needs to keep in the competition with Chevy and Chrysler in the muscle car area. They push each other to provide better and better products. They need each other!

  • Report this Comment On March 29, 2013, at 1:37 PM, loyalright wrote:

    I always thought Ford should leave the mustang design alone and create a high performance, AWD coupe with European styling. This style would entice the millennial generation in the U.S. would satisfy the Europeans. It would be a win, win for everyone who is not muscle car prone but prefers finesse.

  • Report this Comment On March 29, 2013, at 1:38 PM, saabhubby wrote:

    Can anyone remember the Probe? No? OK here is the story and this is what will happen with your idea of a Euro Mustang. Ford announced this same thing back in the 1980's and after major blowback from consumers, it shunted that model as the Probe and kept the Mustang. Today Ford has models that are different in Europe and they typically sell the better model over there and ignore the US market. They did the Mustang just like they do models today, no advances for that model, hoping it will die out. It did not. The only way this will work is if they slightly change the styling of the car and keep the V8. If either of these are not kept in the new design, then it will be the last Mustang or that design will become the Probe II. Ford needs to remember lessons learned from its history. You can talk all you want about the latest Generation all you want, in the end, Americans want a big V8 and American styling. if Ford wants a global market for the Stang, then they may have to go the route they do with other models. One design in the US and one in the world market.

  • Report this Comment On March 29, 2013, at 1:43 PM, oldpapajerry wrote:

    With the demise of the Thunderbird and the need to update the Mustang, and the iconic look of the Shelby 500 sports car, perhaps it is time to expand the Mustang line rather than trying to revamp an Icon.

    Create a two seater Rear Engine Mustang, using the same platform and similiar styling cues , remove the rear seat, and replace it and the trunk with a variety of engine types. 550 HP V8, 300 HP V6 and a 280HP turbo Diesel 4, and even a Diesel Electric Turbine (very small displacement running Nat gas, to charge the batteries for the electric drive train). Combine these with a continuous variable speed transmission, and you would have a track and road winner.

    Continue to improve on the 4 passenger Mustang with subtle design changes and improvements in handling and hybrid components.

    Do not make the mistake that Pontiac and Saturn made with their 2 seaters, under powered, great design but no guts. Even the Fiero when first introduced was underpowered, and came to late to the game with the V6.

    Start out with the performance packages and you will have a winner.


  • Report this Comment On March 29, 2013, at 1:53 PM, Desktopguy wrote:

    What Ford needs is go back to the 95 97 Mustang Fox style body type because there body is more suited for the Europe market.And put in a V6 Eco boost.From the F150. And that well appeal to both markets.And use the Reto Style For an option for the. Hard core Mustang Lover group.Problem solved

  • Report this Comment On March 29, 2013, at 1:58 PM, johnkedz wrote:

    I disagree. First of all the car's original nick name was the pony car, not the Clydesdale car. Smaller is what this car was about, small car, big engine. I owned an 88 and found its best role was not 0-60 but a grand touring car. It could comfortably run at high speed (as long as it was not so high as to start the front end lift) all day long with out breaking sweat. That is actually a very European trait. Think Aston Martin or Ferrari 612 or FF. A smaller chassis means stiffer and lighter and faster with less effort. Maybe we could see the return of the IRS. That sounds like it could easily be tailored to American tastes here and European tastes there. Ford, if you can't figure that out, email me.

  • Report this Comment On March 29, 2013, at 2:01 PM, JDerek40 wrote:

    Ok. I am a Car nut. Love the Muscle cars. The true Muscle Car. Camaros and Mustangs are PONY CARS! Got that name BECAUSE of the Mustang. The original took styling cues came from Europe. Long Hood and short deck. Now as much as I love the New cars, they are far removed from what the originals were. Cheap transportation with a fun factor. Now like most things today, something's have gotten bigger and some smaller. All have gotten heavier and I will refrain commenting on MPG! That just gets my pressure up. The current Pony's are too heavy and expensive in my opinion. What I find ironic is the originals were built on an already existing platform. Chevy II and Falcon respectively and you could tailor them exactly the way you wanted and could afford. There are great platforms with-in both camps, more so with Chevy for right now, to build on. Shared platforms are much simpler to use now because the only thing left on a Frame are trucks. Reardrive cars are making a comeback here. Europe never stopped. Why did we? There isn't much new that I would want even if I could afford the payments + insurance. Anyway, Ford has proven that it can stay relevant IF THEY FOLLOW THEIR CURRENT COURSE and not fall down like they did in the late '80s early '90s. Stay the course. It has been proven, with the Probe, that fans of the Mustang will not tolerate too much change. The formula has stayed relevant for 50 years. Why change now?

  • Report this Comment On March 29, 2013, at 2:26 PM, LungsOfSteel wrote:

    Personally, I think this is all PR designed to get us talking. I don't believe the Mustang will become a Ford Probe, as one writer above has intelligently pointed out.

    Ford is trying to globalize, which means the Mustang may get the corporate grille that's reminiscent of an Aston Martin. Ford has already gone on record stating the next iteration won't be retro....but I think we'll still know it's a Mustang. I'm not worried in the least.

    Additionally, engine technology is such that I think a 4-cyl motor will make it in the Mustang. Remember, women are a core customer for the vehicle, so having these to meet CAFE is completely logical.

    I don't think we'll stop seeing the road burners that we currently have. In fact, the car will be faster than ever . . . but what will it look like?

    I saw the new Camaro Z/28 two days ago at the NYIAS. Chevy facelifted the Camaro and introduced a new track car that's raising the bar for quasi-street-driven ponycars. Ford will return the lob with the new Mustang, and then we'll have a lighter, smaller Camaro . . . I don't see how we're gonna lose with these cars which admittedly are not the leading edge of either automaker's quality and capability. But for the sake of globalization, I predict Ford will be raising the quality of the 'Stang a notch for the world market, who strongly identifies with the car because they do see it as a part of American pop culture.

  • Report this Comment On March 29, 2013, at 2:33 PM, bloodywanka wrote:

    I am happy either way to see GM Ford and Mopar putting more into their vehicles, if retro was a way to get attention back then it worked nicely

  • Report this Comment On March 29, 2013, at 2:56 PM, davy233 wrote:

    why not put out a V6 ecoboost engine for those who want little better miles plus horse power. if a 4 clyinider can get 300hp, imagine what a v6 with ecoboost could do

  • Report this Comment On March 29, 2013, at 3:16 PM, DannyGos wrote:

    After reading all the haters of the new Corvette and how they complain that they don't like this, that or the other, I got to thinking, how about if the manufacturers allow the customers to send in suggestions of how they would like the next model of their favorite muscle car to look like. I know there are a lot of great artists out there that love drawing cars for kicks, send them in and let the engineers look at them and see what they can come up with? At least they would have an idea of what the customer would like to own and could therefore continue filling that demand. Just a thought.

  • Report this Comment On March 29, 2013, at 4:18 PM, dlw9960 wrote:

    Not sure why everyone is so down on a 4-banger Mustang; it's already been done in two previous generations: The Mustang II of the mid-70's and the SVO turbo model of the mid-80's.

    For those of you afraid that a four-cylinder turbo can't provide enough grunt, know that Mercedes just released a 350hp, 2.0 turbo powered CLA AMG. If that's not enough for you, think back a few years to F1's turbo era where teams were dragging up to 1,500hp from 1.5 litres!

    The top range American muscle cars will have V-8 powerplants for the foreseeable future, so nothing to worry about there. For the down-market variants however, there's nothing wrong with swapping a few cylinders for a turbo; it seems to be the industry trend at the moment.

    The important thing to keep in mind is that it's horsepower that gets you down the road, not the number of cylinders. B^D

  • Report this Comment On March 29, 2013, at 5:04 PM, SCR713 wrote:

    Doubt the Camaro outsold the Mustang over the past three years because the Camaro hasn't sold well and it's bland and boring.

  • Report this Comment On March 29, 2013, at 6:00 PM, AlexzGreat wrote:

    It's precisely the Americanness of American cars that appeals to European and Asian buyers.

    Ford cannot make a better Ferrari or BMW or Skiline and so cant Europeans make a better Mustang than Ford. It is variety that attracts not sameness. If being in an uniform made us happy -North Korea would be the happiest place on Earth.

  • Report this Comment On March 29, 2013, at 6:15 PM, randolphmyers wrote:

    To be competitive in Europe and the Camaro and Corvette Ford has to:

    1. Put an independent rear suspension in the car.

    2. Use the BMW M3 as a target for the Mustang's handling.

    3. Improve the overall quality and reduce the noise, vibration, and fatigue of the car. The last Mustang I was in telt cheaper than a Honda Accord.

    4. Give the car a larger gas tank.

    Yes, all this will increase the cost of the car but Ford would sell alot more Mustangs if they improved the car.

  • Report this Comment On March 29, 2013, at 6:21 PM, cladda4u wrote:

    The Mustang does have a reputation in Europe . And I have heard it from various sources that a high powered diesel engine could win a large part of the market there. Something akin to a TDI

  • Report this Comment On March 29, 2013, at 6:41 PM, redkitty615 wrote:

    I'm sorry, but as much as I love the mustang, I can't forgive Ford for messing with my Ford Escape - it used to look like a small SUV, now it looks like a generic crossover (it looks like everything out there now) I'm done - my next vehicle will probably be a Jeep Liberty.

  • Report this Comment On March 29, 2013, at 6:48 PM, gspns wrote:

    I own a 2011 Mustang GT, and I think it's the best Ford that's ever been built. I love the look, power, and reliability. It's a great car. If Ford decides to opt for a more European look, like a BMW or Mercedes, it will be my last Ford. The retro style has worked for the Mustang, why change the style ? Personally, I hate the new Camaro, and I used to own a Z28. Ford needs to stay with its core enthusiasts when it comes to the pony. I'm not crazy about the 2013 GT. It looks too much like a Shelby. Shelby are in their own class, and should not be made to look like GtTs.

  • Report this Comment On March 30, 2013, at 1:42 AM, WalfordS wrote:

    OK, Ford, shoot for 1979, not 1974. And if you find your aim coming ANYWHERE NEAR 1989 (Probe) just shoot yourself instead.

    The Mustang has been a genuinely new car only twice. In 1964, and in 1979. '74 was retro, '94 was retro, and everything since '05 has been retro.

    IF you MUST do retro again, copy 1979. It was a very good year.

  • Report this Comment On March 30, 2013, at 5:33 AM, cobranut wrote:

    It's about time they fully redesigned the Mustang. The current model is 1,000 lbs too heavy, lacks independent suspension, and lacks total performance and efficiency.

    I've owned 5 Mustangs since my first '67 Fastback and I currently have an '04 MACH 1.

    I'd like another rear drive daily driver, so I just test drove a 2012 Mustang with the "supposedly" 310HP v-6, it was a DOG. My Duratec 2.3 Focus beater could easily keep up with it. The v-6 had to be revved to 5K to even start to pull, and I doubt it'll get the posted 29mpg if you do that every time you shift.

    I normally shift my Focus between 4-6K and AVERAGE 30MPG, and it handles better than the Mustang, even though I don't like front drive.

    The current Mustang is just TOO HEAVY to perform up to par with current European vehicles.

    (I know a little bit about that, as I travel to Europe regularly).

    I just hope they make the 2015 smaller, MUCH lighter, and offer a turbo-v6 that will AVERAGE 30mpg, and have enough guts to keep it interesting.

    The V-8, hopefully turbo or supercharged as well, should be in the 500hp range on the standard GT, and go up from there on the Boss and Shelby's.

  • Report this Comment On March 30, 2013, at 8:54 AM, btukwh wrote:

    I recently drove a new mustang. It was very fast, but it did not drive well. Not a lot of fun. I don't miss the days of big, high horsepower, heavy cars that handle like boats.

    How many hundred horsepower is really needed or even usable outside of a drag strip?

    Both the focus and fusion are much better cars from most every perspective. If the mustang continues it should remain what it is. A relic of the past. Like a Harley Davidson. Big, heavy, poor handling newly manufactured antiques.

    I do like Ford. Overall they are making excellent cars that people want to drive. I do miss the Ranger in the lineup. Maybe time for a small truck again.

  • Report this Comment On March 30, 2013, at 9:25 AM, Jeffkory wrote:

    I worked 15 years for ford as a mechanic-{always plenty of work- good living } I owned 2 of their lemons during that time- Owning a ford off warrenty will eventually cost you big $.. Sooner or later. I Like to turn the key and go- My fords wouldn't let me do that. It's risky owning a ford..

  • Report this Comment On March 30, 2013, at 10:41 AM, brokemillennial wrote:

    I'm a millennial and love the retro Mustang design. But like many in my generation I'm lucky to be able to afford any car at all. I don't drive a Honda Civic because I like the style over a mustang but because it is dependable, has good gas millage and low insurance rates.

    With so many people in my generation unemployed or working in low paying jobs I doubt many of them will be buying muscle cars anytime soon no matter what the design. Plus many people under 30 don't know how to drive stick.

    I think the real question is why Ford's small and midsize car line,the Fiesta, Fusion, and Focus sell so poorly in Europe.

    That said my MBA roommate just bought a shiny new Mustang after getting a job offer. Not gonna lie, totally jealous.

  • Report this Comment On March 30, 2013, at 3:21 PM, redbull038 wrote:

    ford is already late to the Dance ,GO EVO GO SKYLINE aka R35

  • Report this Comment On April 02, 2013, at 2:42 PM, TMFMarlowe wrote:

    All you guys complaining, just answer me one question: Which recent Ford model hasn't been good? Which one? Which one has come out and not been an instant contender for top-of-segment? Which one has been a big miss, like you're sure the Mustang will be?

    Name it. Name it or stop complaining. The next Mustang will be excellent, whatever it looks like. Bank on it.

    Good article, Daniel. Isaac and I were just talking about this... it'll be like every new Jeep. The purists always scream about how they hate it, how Jeep has sold out, how it's a commuter car now, how real Jeeps are dead now... until people start driving it, and it turns out to be a fully capable off roader and a sure 'nuff real Jeep. Then they sort of grumble... and go buy one.

    I predict that's how the current fuss over the wacky new Cherokee will play out, and I predict that it's pretty much how the Mustang will go, too.

    Either that or folks will love it from the get-go. But given Ford's track record lately, I'm confident that it'll be very good, even if it doesn't have a live real axle.

    John Rosevear (Ford shareholder... and CTS-V owner, by the way)

  • Report this Comment On April 05, 2013, at 12:22 PM, CEDUP wrote:

    Dumb. Audi says, what good is power without control. Audi and Benz and BMW all have powerful, better made vehicles, that will trounce this obsolete dumb going backwards product. Ford and GM, both out of touch with the 21st century. Why would anyone want a rear wheel drive over powered under controlled horrible thing like this. Audi RS4 RS series will clobber this junk. with the highest quality materials etc. Ford never grows into a real car maker.

  • Report this Comment On April 05, 2013, at 12:31 PM, TMFTwoCoins wrote:


    If I could sum up your entire post in one word, it would indeed be "dumb". First off, Audi, Benz and BMW aren't the proper comparisons to the Mustang. Those are luxury brands, the Mustang is not.

    Secondly, Ford and GM are more in touch with the 21st century than you realize. Ford is moving forward with its highly popular and successful newly designed vehicles. It's also targeting rapidly expanding trends, such as fuel efficiency and vehicle downsizing.

    Ford never grows into a real car maker? You do realize this is the same company that invented the assembly line? Thereby making the argument it was the first real car maker and still is.

    Thanks all for reading.

  • Report this Comment On April 05, 2013, at 8:50 PM, johnluma wrote:

    The 2014 Corvette has successfully updated its look in what critics are calling a European design, made itself lighter, and achieved higher mileage out of a more powerful engine. The 2015 Stang can offer small, medium and large engines for all interests, improve handling, etc and make it the young driver's #1 choice. It ain't brain surgery, it just takes TASTE, STYLE, and design DEMAND FOR QUALITY.

  • Report this Comment On April 06, 2013, at 4:20 PM, dmcleodw wrote:

    Will Ford forget the lesson learned from trying to replace the Mustang with what became the Probe? I don't think so. Ford sells Focus STs and Mustangs to two different types of enthusiasts -- those cars absolutely hit the nail on the head in attracting buyers in each of their respective markets. Changing either model significantly would be a huge mistake.

    For the third type of buyer -- if Ford felt a need to compete with European sports cars, they would introduce a new model as a Lincoln, wouldn't they? And yes, it would have to be truly excellent in order to go up against BMW, Audi, and Mercedes. I know FMC could do it. Question is, do they want to and would it be profitable?

  • Report this Comment On April 06, 2013, at 8:43 PM, FREEHIKER wrote:

    Staticat: What is the difference? In 1979, they stuck a horse on a Fairmont and called it a mustang. They finally made it look similar to a mustang again in the 90s.

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