1 Critical Addition to Ford's 2015 Mustang

Ford's 2015 Mustang could be a bigger hit than expected. Photo credit: Ford.

Last week, Ford (NYSE: F  ) unveiled the first of two highly anticipated vehicle redesigns for next calendar year: the 2015 Mustang. Sales of the Mustang have failed to recover since the recession, and changes are needed to revive sales and attract new consumers. The exterior has a more modern and sleek feel to it, but the real innovation that will be critical to return sales to recent highs is what's under the hood.

*2013 projected from sales through October. Information from Automotive News DataCenter.

Enter the EcoBoost
Despite Ford's very successful "One Ford" global plan that refuses to produce vehicles for niche markets, the new Mustang was designed for the American consumer – and the company is banking that the rest of the world also wants it that way. It's the right move, as only 10% of sales are expected to come from outside the U.S.; here at home the forecast is for Mustang sales to reach 100,000 in 2015, the first full year of sales for the redesigned Mustang, according to IHS Automotive. 

One reason I believe the Mustang will revive sales here, as well as globally, is that the EcoBoost will provide better fuel economy, which has become increasingly important to consumers -- especially to younger demographics that haven't been buying the last-generation retro-style Mustang. The EcoBoost engine family has been a marketing gold mine for Ford, and its most popular vehicles have sky-high take rates on the turbocharged engine -- 89% for the Escape, 51% for the Fusion, and 42% for F-150s.

Ford's 2015 Mustang will tout the turbocharged engine option for the first time and will receive the all-new 2.3-liter EcoBoost, which is projected to produce class-leading fuel efficiency; official miles per gallon haven't yet been released. Along with the improved fuel economy, the turbocharged engine will produce more than 305 horsepower and 300-plus pound-feet of torque. 

Ford's 2.3-liter EcoBoost will be critical to attracting a new consumer to the Mustang here in the U.S., as well as its ability to sell overseas. If it produces a take rate similar to other popular Ford vehicles, it could mean improved margins for the company, as opposed to the base V6 engine, as well as sales surging beyond its 100,000 forecast -- something I wouldn't be surprised to see happen.

Interior of Ford's 2015 Mustang. Photo credit: Ford.

In addition to the new EcoBoost option, it's the entire engine lineup flexibility that will be key for the Mustang to hit sales not reached in years -- and no Mustang lineup would be complete without its core 5.0-liter V8 that is projected to push out more than 420 horsepower and 390 pound-feet of torque.

Aside from the Mustang's engine flexibility that should score points with multiple demographics, it's full of innovative technologies that are also critical to consumers weighing multiple vehicles for purchase. Ford will offer Intelligent Access with a push-button start for its SYNC and MyKey systems. It will also offer features to help drivers customize their experience behind the wheel, with switches to adjust steering effort, engine response, and stability control settings. It also has advanced driver-assist features, including Blind Spot Information System and cross-traffic alerts, adaptive cruise control, and more.

Bottom line
The Mustang doesn't need to reach its peak sales of nearly 550,000 in 1966 to be a success. The Mustang isn't going to sell that way today, and it won't reach the global success of the Focus and Fiesta, which are the best-selling nameplate and subcompact nameplate in the world. The Mustang is Ford's halo car, and that means it needs to remain iconic in American consumers' eyes through movies, classic car shows, and other outlets, which will bring incremental attention to the brand and car buyers into the showroom, where they might buy something else.

In the process of attracting new consumers for the overall Ford brand with its multitude of engine options, innovative features, and sleek new design, it's possible it could be a bigger hit than anticipated. If sales hit 150,000 at some point it would be one of the Mustang's best years in more than three decades, and I think it has a chance.

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Read/Post Comments (5) | Recommend This Article (9)

Comments from our Foolish Readers

Help us keep this a respectfully Foolish area! This is a place for our readers to discuss, debate, and learn more about the Foolish investing topic you read about above. Help us keep it clean and safe. If you believe a comment is abusive or otherwise violates our Fool's Rules, please report it via the Report this Comment Report this Comment icon found on every comment.

  • Report this Comment On December 14, 2013, at 11:19 AM, LungsOfSteel wrote:

    This is not the first time the turbo has been available on the Mustang, despite "will tout the turbocharged engine option for the first time."

  • Report this Comment On December 15, 2013, at 12:44 AM, Jeffkory wrote:

    The last real mustang was in 1973- these plastic junkers are all wanna bees. Just bland like the camry- theres 1 on every corner- Nothing new. Bland- bland-bland.

  • Report this Comment On December 15, 2013, at 2:48 AM, cabman wrote:

    That thing is fugly. Looks like they got the hood esign from a 50's model Corvette. The thing looks to Asian vanilla. Lacks totally the muscle car look of the Camaro and the Challenger. But I guess it is only natural since the mustang hasn't been able to compete against the Camaro in years.

  • Report this Comment On December 15, 2013, at 2:48 AM, cabman wrote:

    BTW The best looking mustang ever was the 1969/ That was gorgeous.

  • Report this Comment On December 16, 2013, at 2:49 AM, dewillson wrote:

    The body style is doing what Mustangs did around 1971-72. They had grown to the point where they were essentially compact Torinos. My 71 with the 390 was a barn burner. Then came the Mustang II. With a 302 4bbl it was still a dog.

    Not sure how much I'll like the 15. The front end hasn't changed that much from my 13, but the back end has, as well as deleting the pillar post and running glass all the way.

    My favorite Mustang sits in my garage. A vintage burgundy 1965 Fastback 289ci 4 bbl dual exhaust, custom built C3 automatic. To that I have added electronic ignition, 16" mag rims with P225/50ZR skins, high back buckets, surround sound, power rack and pinion steering, led lighting inside and out. It's what I bought when I returned from Vietnam in 1970.

    Sitting next to it is my Deep Impact Blue 2013 Mustang GT, dual Le Mans stripes, and under the hood, 5.0L Coyote V8 with a Boss 302 intake coupled to a larger Cold Air Intake, a custom tune ECM, MGW Short Throw Shifter, and Borla Touring Axel Back exhaust.

    Both cars have run the length of California and back, with the 65 getting 26mpg and the 13 getting 24mpg. In town that drops to around 16 for each if I keep my foot out of it.

    I thought about a Shelby, but for now it just doesn't make sense. I can already break the speed limits for half the price. So far, I have no citations with either car.

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