Ford's 2015 Mustang Will Be a Game-Changer

Artist rendering of the 2015 Mustang. Photo credit: Read more here

The Mustang has been Ford's (NYSE: F  ) halo car, the center theme in blockbuster movie car chases and famous car shows across the nation. Its classic rivalry with the Camaro is the stuff of legends, and the Mustang has a loyal fan base unlike any other ride. Unfortunately for the folks at Ford, the target audience that sent the Mustang to its glory days has aged, and younger buyers haven't buying into its current retro look, sending Mustang sales plunging.

Graph by author. Information from Ford monthly sales releases. 2013* projected from sales through September.

The Mustang needs a new look, and Ford is planning to unveil a more modern Mustang that it hopes will attract not only a younger audience, but also a global audience, breathing life into the iconic American muscle car yet again. I think the 2015 Mustang will be a game-changer and will send Mustang sales and popularity to heights not seen in decades.

Unlike myself, most younger consumers don't like the retro look. Photo Credit: Author

Very risky design
When aiming for a game-changing design as Ford is doing with its Mustang, there's a huge hit-or-miss risk. Before the recession hit, Ford lost more than $30 billion between 2006 and 2008 and vowed to never produce vehicles for only one market. That means the American pony car will have to race on the global stage, which it has never done, and that means drastic style changes.

Consumers in Europe, and in China, won't go for the big bulky sports car as we've grown to love in America. Indeed, the Mustang will have to go on a bit of a diet to be a game-changer in 2014.

The current 'Stang weighs in at roughly 3,500 pounds, and according to Edmunds, Ford is working to remove a minimum of 400 pounds for the redesigned 2015 model. It's also rumored to be as much as 15 inches shorter and half a foot narrower.

OK, so nothing too drastic; I don't think that will send the American fan base to the doors yet. These slight style changes should enable the Mustang to sell overseas and help Ford conquer competition in Europe, and in China. Sales of the Fusion, Focus, and Fiesta are leading the charge overseas, but Ford needs a car that packs more of a punch, and the Mustang gives it just that. What could help solidify the Mustang's success here, and abroad, will be Ford's engine flexibility.

Flexibility is key
Ford has been touting its EcoBoost engine technology as more and more consumers clamor for better fuel economy. Check out the disparity between fuel economy and performance.

Graph by author. Information from Consumer Reports.

That's been one key reason sales of the Mustang haven't recovered since the recession, while the Fusion and smaller car sales have soared. That will change, as the 2015 Mustang will have a turbocharged 2.3-liter four-cylinder engine that puts out 310 horsepower, as one option. That turbocharged option will likely sit above the base six-cylinder engine, and below its V-8, which will put out as much as 450 horsepower. This flexibility will allow any consumer, young or old, horsepower- or fuel economy-driven, to buy into the Mustang's new ride.

Ford's been on a roll since the depths of the Great Recession, and it's rolled out one popular design after another. For the Mustang to remain an American icon, it must evolve and become a global icon. I think because of its engine flexibility and fine balance in styling, Ford is going to be able to walk a fine line between American and global consumers. The 2015 Mustang will be more modern, yet have enough of its previous styling cues to still feel like the American muscle car we all know and love. I fully expect the 2015 Mustang to be a game-changer for Ford once again. One thing is for sure: We'll know how we feel when it's unveiled in December.

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Read/Post Comments (41) | Recommend This Article (28)

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  • Report this Comment On November 09, 2013, at 10:10 AM, LungsOfSteel wrote:

    "OK, so nothing too drastic"


  • Report this Comment On November 09, 2013, at 10:33 AM, Brianzippee wrote:

    What happens when you hit a pothole with those ridiculous tall wagon wheels?

  • Report this Comment On November 09, 2013, at 10:58 AM, mobadthangood wrote:

    If its going to look like that picture its now along the lines of those little punked out Toyotas and nissans the kids have. I guess they will have those coffee can tailpipes hanging on the back and paint them all up with those stupid fluorescent colors.

    It won't be a tough looking car anymore.

    Come on Ford you can do better than this. I just feel if they make this it will go away with what Pontiac did to the so-called GTO.

    Now I hope and pray they don't do anything stupid like this to the Camaro and the Challenger.

  • Report this Comment On November 09, 2013, at 10:59 AM, Amberyerno wrote:

    I've yet to see an artist's rendition of the 2015 Mustang that doesn't make me puke in my mouth a little.

  • Report this Comment On November 09, 2013, at 11:08 AM, Jason87467 wrote:

    Keep the old style. They are going backwards. I'll buy a Camero instead.

  • Report this Comment On November 09, 2013, at 12:27 PM, h2oelemental wrote:

    Almost reminds me of a Ferrari. Styling appears to be similar. wonder what the Convertible will look like?

  • Report this Comment On November 09, 2013, at 12:35 PM, Cody700 wrote:

    2 door coupe sales have declined for decades now, that is nothing new at all. GM had to completely stop production of the Camaro for a few years due to lacking sales numbers. The Mustang's original roots are still intact, and I predict that they will remain that way. For Ford, or any other manufacturer to think that ANY 2 door coupe is going to sell in large volumes is a mistake, it simply isn't going to happen. If people had more disposable income the Mustang, as well as many other 2 door coupes would be more popular and sell in higher numbers as their primary function would be as a 3rd vehicle. As it stands most do not have the additional income or disposable cash every month to afford a 3rd car. Today's buyers require multi-purpose vehicles like SUV's, Crossover's, and Crew cab pickup trucks.

  • Report this Comment On November 09, 2013, at 12:42 PM, 1Cardiac wrote:

    Looks like the design engineers finished the back half of the car after a three (or more) Martini lunch.

    The fender flairs remind me of the ‘bolt-on’ California Custom exaggerated wheel wells.

  • Report this Comment On November 09, 2013, at 12:46 PM, spore219 wrote:

    The current design is beginning to look like a 50 year old former prom queen. I think that it's time that the new Mustang joins the 21st century and makes it more appealing to a wider variety of car enthusiasts. There are still old 'Stangs in the salvage yards, or buy a new Camaro or Challenger if they just can't get over that retro look. I've seen many different renderings of what the new Mustang 'may' look like. The red one pictured above is just one of them.

  • Report this Comment On November 09, 2013, at 1:04 PM, jdlatta wrote:

    glad to have purchased a 2014! My mustang is a blast to drive and I can't imagine it being shorter or with a more narrow wheel base. Power is great and it doesn't drive as though it needs to lose 400 lbs. Put it in 6th gear on the freeway and it gets amazing mpg. No regrets with this purchase!

  • Report this Comment On November 09, 2013, at 1:27 PM, hoosiermama wrote:

    The ONLY reason we don't own a current Mustang is rear seat room. We have a '89 5.0 Mustang LX we bought new and it has been the most fun, trouble free car we have ever owned. It was purchased in our late 20's. A couple of years ago when we were in the market for an additional car we really wanted to get another Mustang. Now the '89 doesn't have a lot of rear leg room but you can get ride back there in a pinch. The newer Mustangs front seat back virtually touches the rear seat cushions. We ended up getting a '10 Fusion which we are happy with but we would have preferred a Mustang. My solution for lagging sales would be to lengthen the wheelbase a foot for rear legroom. People want versatility and you don't get that without a usable back seat.

  • Report this Comment On November 09, 2013, at 1:28 PM, paltx75801 wrote:

    Ford making a big mistake in my opinion, hate the design, but then again loved the old Mach1 design.If they brought it or a close makeover would buy one in a heart beat. Have a 1990 foxbody LX right now

  • Report this Comment On November 09, 2013, at 1:46 PM, NoVaEarly wrote:

    Spend ten seconds inside a Mustang and you will know why the sales plummeted. Everything you see, tough, hear, smell, etc feels cheap and outdated

  • Report this Comment On November 09, 2013, at 1:47 PM, tmyerst wrote:

    Having owned a 2002 GT convertible new and still have it 239654 miles still looks new and performs like when I bought it looking forward to the 2015 GT. ready for the futurist model will get one as soon as available.Looks like the aston martin vanguard body lines very fast looking and very clean lines hooray for ford and there design engineers.

  • Report this Comment On November 09, 2013, at 2:31 PM, WRB wrote:

    I like the fact that it will be lighter,but it looks dumb

  • Report this Comment On November 09, 2013, at 3:02 PM, popeye1250 wrote:

    I think it's pretty good looking.

  • Report this Comment On November 09, 2013, at 4:49 PM, 1Cardiac wrote:

    The oversized rear fenders make the tires appear too small, add this to a long back window & a short deck lid may entice you to buy one. But years later, I think people will be to embarrassed to admit ever owning one . . . kind-of like owning a ’76 Cobra II

  • Report this Comment On November 09, 2013, at 5:34 PM, jake wrote:

    I can tell you this !!!! 6" narrower and what 16" shorter its going to look like utter crap!!!!!!!! I don't want a ford fiesta!!!! As for plummeting sales have you seen what they charge a 16 year old for insurance its ridiculous. When I was in high school I remember the nothchback lx's slammed all over the place. Ah!!!!!! those were the days. I feel bad for todays kids they could never enjoy the freedom we had. Such a shame.

  • Report this Comment On November 09, 2013, at 5:42 PM, jake wrote:

    As for the Europeans they love the mustang the way it is that's all yuppy crap!!!! The problem there is that the governments there are communists, they want everyone to drive a little shitbox while the ultra rich do as they please. People really need to start opening there eyes

  • Report this Comment On November 09, 2013, at 5:46 PM, Bobbidy15 wrote:

    The author is retarded. The picture used isn't even close. And what's all this about younger consumers not liking the retro look? Way to pull that out of your ass. 450 hp for the v8? I've read much more trustworthy sources saying 500.

  • Report this Comment On November 09, 2013, at 5:48 PM, combatpigg wrote:

    This drawing makes it somewhat recognizable as a Mustang.

    I would not want one, I'd much rather spend the same money on an earlier model.

  • Report this Comment On November 09, 2013, at 6:17 PM, smylynn wrote:

    I don't like it, it doesn't look right! Looks more like a honda, not a mustang. I hope they don't put the same gas cap on the back of this one. The previous years are far better looking.

    This isn't a true blue mustang look, sorry

  • Report this Comment On November 09, 2013, at 6:49 PM, awhsnoop wrote:

    ugliest damn car ever. I have owned 6 mustangs and can guarantee ford I will never purchase one of those ugly cars. They are ruining what the Mustang was built on. If they want a car to complete with European cars then build a new style, don't ruin what they have. I think this will completely backfire on Ford.

  • Report this Comment On November 09, 2013, at 7:01 PM, Number1FordFan wrote:

    Well its seems like Ford is starting to build the Mustang in the way that many of us want.

    Smaller, lighter, more nimble, but that new shape is of a global Mustang NOT a FORD Mustang .

    Mere words can't describe how ugly i think that styling is on that car. It looks like a 1988 Ford Probe.

    The styling of the 2005-08 was spot on except for the piggish weight. Make them look like a 64-66 or 67-68 and keep the weight in check and you won't need a 400HP engine for it to perform well. And you will sell them faster than you can make them.

    My name is Jim I am 49 and have owned 5 Mustangs a 66 fastback, (2) 79s a 85 and lastly a 88 GT I loved them all. Notice this was when Mustangs were of reasonable size.

    To FoMoCo

    If you make mustangs look like the one in the pic at the top of this story YOU WILL LOSE sales in the largest market. The U.S.A.

    You want mustangs for the people in China? Fine build them what they want.

    Just sell us what we like or we WILL buy them from others


  • Report this Comment On November 09, 2013, at 7:26 PM, RoyRiskM wrote:

    I see more than just a little Cheetah influence here. I like it! Looks like it's haulin' butt just sitting there. As for those who refuse to leave yesterday . . . I was there, and there are now 4 bangers that'll blow the 60's "Muscle cars" away! Get with the program and embrace technology; admit there may be a better way to do things.

  • Report this Comment On November 09, 2013, at 7:26 PM, geezer3333 wrote:

    two things - first, remember ( not the Alamo ) the Probe. or last gen Cougar.

    that chart - of course, it's from ' Consumer reports'.

  • Report this Comment On November 09, 2013, at 7:40 PM, imDanielle2 wrote:

    Getting worse, NOT better!

  • Report this Comment On November 09, 2013, at 8:45 PM, RogerWilco wrote:

    This new design looks like "crap". I have often considered a Mustang but if this idea becomes reality, I will look for a used vehicle or abandon the idea all together and rethink another GM product.

    I don't know why the auto industry has to cater to the younger buyer anyway or constantly justify the employment of their design departments. I thought Ford was on the right track with the retro Mustang look and the modern handling and powertrains offered.

  • Report this Comment On November 09, 2013, at 9:04 PM, LungsOfSteel wrote:

    "GM had to completely stop production of the Camaro for a few years due to lacking sales numbers."

    Not quite true. They stopped production because the factory could be utilized for more profitable and popular cars in the Chevy roster.

  • Report this Comment On November 09, 2013, at 11:59 PM, lifeatford wrote:

    It just is a terrible looking Mustang. What a way to ruin a beautiful auto. How can Ford make such a mistake with this it has to be a joke. Fords new Edsel is the way I see this piece of awful engineering.

  • Report this Comment On November 10, 2013, at 12:49 AM, CrazyDocAl wrote:

    Ford has decided that they needed to use the looks of the Aston Martin for their cars. When they did it for the Fusion it kind of spoiled the look of the AM. But now they are trying to use that look for every car they make. They've got so far they've ruined the look for every car that shares that grill. Too bad, the AM looked nice.

  • Report this Comment On November 10, 2013, at 4:08 AM, JackSmith151 wrote:

    ""The current 'Stang weighs in at roughly 3,500 pounds, and according to Edmunds, Ford is working to remove a minimum of 400 pounds for the redesigned 2015 model. It's also rumored to be as much as 15 inches shorter and half a foot narrower.""

    So basically they're talking about turning the mustang into a FRS/BRZ sized car, or something very slightly larger than.

    The current mustang is approximately the same size as a 370Z, any smaller and you get into "sport compact" territory. It'll be great for the power to weight ratio, sure....but anyone inside will certainly suffer.

    For those of you that say older cars were as large or larger and weighed less, that is true, but they also didn't have all of the safety regulations today.

    For example:

    A 1995 Honda Civic EX automatic trans had a curb weight of 2,108lbs.

    A 2012 Civic EX with automatic trans has a curb weight of almost 2,700lbs, a 600lb gain in weight for the same size vehicle.

    If Ford produces a 3,000lb mustant, the size-wise it will be something in the ballpark of a FRS to a Genesis coupe.

  • Report this Comment On November 10, 2013, at 6:13 AM, mgoulais wrote:


  • Report this Comment On November 10, 2013, at 7:36 AM, Zonniwoop wrote:

    This new version of the 'Mustang' just reminds me of what an old Ford 'Probe' would look like if still in production today... Could Ford be trying to change the 'Stanger into the 'Probe' for international markets?! I just don't like the new design... I would much rather have one of the new Dodge 'Barracuda's' that's on the way from Chrysler and Fiat group. The next 'Camaro' is just as (F)ugly as this new 'Mustang'.

  • Report this Comment On November 10, 2013, at 9:55 AM, FordsRIP2014 wrote:

    Ford should just let the mustang fade away for its time is done. I purchased two 2007 mustangs one for me and the other for my wife. In 2008 when the 2009's came out was going to buy new one until was shocked on how little the 07's were worth. Both had less than 3,000 miles on them and could not get anymore than half of what I paid for them new even at the dealer where I buy from. I waited and got a 2010 Camaro SS which held its value even a year later got full price of what I paid new when traded it in on the 2011 Taurus SHO. Another big mistake. Paid 45,000 for the SHO and in 7 months it was worth only 30,000. Another over priced ford product. Today I now have 2 2014 Camaros a SS and a ZL1 best choice I ever made for GM,s are holding value better than any Fords. Ford can do whatever they think to change the new Mustangs however as long as they overprice what they are worth they still will fail to sell.

  • Report this Comment On November 10, 2013, at 11:03 AM, puppybone69 wrote:

    Young people aren't buying new Mustangs because they either can't afford to buy them, can't afford to insure them, can't afford to drive them, or some combo of those reasons, not because they don't like them or don't want them. I'm 45, and as much as I wanted to buy a new Mustang, I bought a new Fusion instead, for all of the above reasons, and then some. I simply couldn't afford to get THE Mustang I wanted (Shelby GT500) so having to settle for A Mustang that I could afford wasn't gonna make me feel any better about it. Besides, the new Fusion was available in the same color I wanted my Mustang to be, so at least I was able to get a more practical car in an official Mustang color, and the 2015 Mustang will look like a Fusion anyway!

  • Report this Comment On November 10, 2013, at 4:45 PM, JohanStrauss wrote:

    How 'bout getting with the times, Ford, and putting a decent suspension on this thing? I might could forgive the god-awful looks that way.

  • Report this Comment On November 11, 2013, at 10:22 AM, Soakee wrote:

    I'm not sure why so many think that this new look is awful - it keeps some of the Mustang design cues, with some existing Ford family design cues, along with some new cues. Shaving 400 pounds and a foot and a half in length are both good things. I have an '09 convertible Mustang (wife's daily driver) and it's just too big and feels to heavy, although it's still smaller and lighter than the pig Camaro and elephant Challenger.

  • Report this Comment On November 11, 2013, at 2:01 PM, whydoyawanano wrote:

    Seriously? I think I may have to visit a chiropractor form all the head shaking while reading this article. Reasons? Here we go: 1) The Mustang is a niche vehicle, never intended as a make it or break it financial leader for Ford. It beings the dreamers into dealerships, and they leave with an Escape for their family of five. Only the lucky few really get the 'Stang. 2) Younger people don't like the retro look? Tell that to the kids that shout out "Cool car!' on a daily basis as I drive by in my 2014 V6 convertible. Again, not marketed to or for them, it is for aging Boomers like me who can now drive the kind of cars we wish we had back when we were teens. Plus, now we can afford the insurance. 3) The Mustang is the original ponycar - hence that moniker for the long hood, short deck sporty look it started - and the Camaro & Challenger came out as wannabe competition, died off & were revived solely because of the current retro look's strong sales - for it's niche. 4) Europeans don't like it? Have you checked out the hardcore European Mustang owners out there? The Mustang is an American icon. Yeah, Europeans hate the Mustang the same way they hate Harleys. 5) I guarantee some of the kids who pedal their bikes faster to get a better look at my current Mustang, as they have the previous 4 (from a 1970 to my current) I've driven, will someday own one of their own. Here's to another great 50 years, Mustang!

  • Report this Comment On November 16, 2013, at 9:35 PM, Wackweed wrote:

    No need in getting your panties in a wad over any of this till the car hits the lots and we see it up close. Anything 400 lbs lighter with more HP will put a smile on the grumpiest face. And if the can turn all of Europe in Mustang fans I am for it. Cars are going to get smaller but I still want High Performance and that American V-8 sound. We may all be very happy once the foot is on the floor.

  • Report this Comment On December 05, 2013, at 11:21 AM, whydoyawanano wrote:

    So, it is 12/5/13, AKA "New Mustang Reveal Day", and the next Mustang looks TA-DAH! Nothing like this picture! Thank God, that looks like a product of a Mustang & Celica's drunken one night stand. It has modern cues, like the wrap-around headlight/sidelight combo, but still retains enough Mustang look to recognize it as such at a glance. Let the ordering begin soon.

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