You could sense anxiety and blood pressure rising in loyal Ford (NYSE: F ) Mustang enthusiasts across the nation over the last year as rumors spread regarding the iconic ride's new design. Ford found itself between a rock and a hard place and its new 2015 Mustang design needed to walk a fine line. It needed to create a muscle car that appealed to a new global audience, one that the Mustang hadn't previously been sold to, which would mean a smaller and more fuel-efficient vehicle. Yet it also had to appease its loyal, power-hungry American consumer. Ford also needed to modernize the pony car to compete with General Motors' (NYSE: GM ) Chevy Camaro yet keep age-old Mustang design cues.
The conclusion Ford came to is risky: It designed an American Mustang that it will sell globally, not the other way around.
"We find globally that everyone wants that piece of Americana," says Dave Pericak, Mustang chief engineer, according to Automotive News. "We designed a Mustang and decided to take it global. We did not design a global Mustang."
All you hard-core Mustang fans out there can finally take a breather; this won't look or feel like a European-style sports car. The Mustang's 5.0-liter V8 still provides tons of its iconic power, pushing out more than 420 horsepower and 390 lb.-ft of torque -- with better fuel economy, to boot. Ford will also offer a 3.7-liter V6 that pushes out at least 300 horsepower and 270 lb.-ft of torque. In addition to the V6 and V8 we've grown accustomed to, Ford has added a new option that will help the 2015 Mustang appeal to a global audience.
Ford's EcoBoost engines have been extremely popular with a 89%, 52%, and 42% take rate on its Escape, Fusion, and F-150 models, respectively. The 2015 Mustang will now have a 2.3-liter EcoBoost as an option. According to Ford, its EcoBoost engine with a unique intake manifold and turbocharger housing will enable it to push out more than 305 horsepower and 300 lb.-ft of torque. In addition to the comparisons above, my 2010 GT with a V8 pushes out about 325 horsepower -- the EcoBoost definitely makes an intriguing option.
Global ambitions aside, Ford's 2015 Mustang has its work cut out for it here where its archrival, the Chevrolet Camaro, has topped it in annual sales over the last three years and is on pace to do so again in 2013. One reason for the Camaro's recent success has been its sleek and modern look, while Ford was rocking a more retro look -- something that didn't appeal to as many young consumers. Moreover, as fuel efficiency gradually became one of the most important factors for car buyers, sales of the Mustang failed to recover after the recession.
Ford's been on a roll lately, launching popular designs one after another. I think it has definitely walked a fine line with its new design; it designed a Mustang that could appeal to younger and global consumers while not alienating its core consumer. Creating another American Mustang and pushing it globally is risky, to be sure, but if Ford's recent design success is any indication, we should expect the iconic pony car to gallop on the global stage with ease.
What do you think? Did Ford do enough with its new design for sales to rebound? Will it once again beat out its rival Camaro? Let me know in the comments below.
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