Ford Shows a New Mustang but Holds Back the Details

Ford chief operating officer Mark Fields talked to the Fool's John Rosevear about the new 2015 Mustang 50 Year Limited Edition in New York on Wednesday. Photo credit: Rex Moore/The Motley Fool.

Ford (NYSE: F  ) on Wednesday revealed the first of what will likely be many special editions of its all-new Mustang, a package that commemorates the 50th anniversary of the original Mustang's launch in 1964.

Executive Chairman Bill Ford and Chief Operating Officer Mark Fields presented the latest Mustang variant in a splashy media event at the New York International Auto Show.

Officially called the "2015 Ford Mustang 50 Year Limited Edition," the model will be limited to just 1,964 examples. 

So how much will it cost? Ford didn't tell us. In fact, no pricing for any of the new Mustangs has been announced, in what is becoming a somewhat strange slow-motion rollout of Ford's new pony.

Ford still hasn't told us some important things about the Mustang
So what is this new model? In a nutshell, it's a Mustang GT fastback with every option and some special badges and trim, including a plaque carrying Bill Ford's signature. 

All of the 50 Year Mustangs will come with a special plaque signed by Executive Chairman Bill Ford. Photo credit: Ford Motor Company.

Buyers will be able to choose from two historic colors, Wimbledon White and Kona Blue, and manual or automatic transmission. That's it for options -- everything else is standard.

None of that was unexpected. But here's what's kind of strange: We don't know how much it'll cost, or how much horsepower it'll have. 

In fact, we don't know how much any of the new Mustangs will cost, or how much horsepower they'll have, or what options will be available. It has been four months since the all-new Mustang was officially unveiled, but there's a lot that Ford hasn't yet told us.

This plush interior is standard on the 50 Year Limited Edition. Photo credit: Ford Motor Company.

Ford is expected to start taking orders for the 2015 Mustang in just a few weeks. Why hasn't the company given its potential customers the full scoop on its most iconic product?

An (understandable) excess of caution?
I'm not sure, but I suspect that Ford is just being extra-careful.

Ford's quality in recent years has been very strong for the most part, but when Ford has fallen down, it has been around new-product launches.

The Escape's launch in 2012 was marred by several recalls. The Fusion's rollout later that year was very slow, as the factory struggled to meet internal quality standards consistently. 

And the launch of the Fusion's upscale sibling, the Lincoln MKZ, was essentially delayed at the last minute over quality concerns -- even as a long-planned national ad campaign for the car was rolling.

These were huge, expensive headaches for Ford. The company responded by revamping its launch procedures, and by putting Joe Hinrichs, a well-regarded manufacturing expert, in charge of its North and South America divisions. 

Ford doesn't want any problems with the launch of the new Mustang -- and it definitely doesn't want any problems with the much more complicated launch of its all-new F-150 pickups later this year. 

The rear of the 50 Year Limited Edition includes a new version of the Mustang's faux gas cap. Photo credit: Ford Motor Company.

My sense is that Ford executives are being carefully vague about timelines, and holding back some specifics on the new Mustang, because they want to make sure they get it right -- and they're going to take the time they need to ensure that it's right.

In other words, the Mustang will launch when it's ready -- even if that means some frustration for Ford fans, and even if that means the new Mustang will largely miss the summer season this year.

It might cost Ford a few sales. But from the perspective of ensuring that the new Mustang is a high-quality product, it's the right thing for Ford to do.

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