EconomyFinancialThe end of an era? Not for Mustangs. Ford's...

The end of an era? Not for Mustangs. Ford's most famous car just got a facelift

The Ford Mustang does not say “Ford” or “Mustang” anywhere. There is no blue oval on the grille and no model name on the rear of the vehicle. But this lack of credentials doesn’t stop everyone from knowing what model it is when it passes by on the street.

That “immediate recognition” effect is one of the reasons, perhaps the most important, why Ford decided to renew its muscle car at a time when its American competitors are leaving this segment to focus on the development of new SUVs. and electrified pickups.

Although Mustang has remained the world’s best-selling V8 over its 58-year existence, it is becoming a niche model. Last year, Ford managed to move just under 70,000 Mustangs globally in 2021, 16% less than in 2020, when it placed 80,577 units in the world, according to data from the brand.

The company says the United States accounted for 76% of all Mustang sales in 2021. But even in its biggest market, consumers are starting to set their sights on the Mexican -made Mustang Mach-E . In July, the electric model outsold the traditional Mustang: 4,970 units of the electric, compared to 3,367 of the combustion muscle car .

Despite this, the American manufacturer has decided to swim against the tide and invest in a new generation of its muscle car . “We surprised everyone, and we’re going to do them again with a Mustang that puts a new level of American performance, styling and engineering in the hands of customers who still want the thrill and excitement of a V8 sports car ,” he said in a statement. Jim Farley, CEO of Ford Motor Company.

Although it doesn’t bear the blue oval badge, the Mustang remains the American automaker’s most important marketing tool. Even the design of the electric crossover that Ford makes in Mexico is inspired by the muscle car and features the distinctive three-bar taillights of the Mustang.

As a national symbol, the Mustang is to America what a Ferrari is to Italy or a Jaguar to England. But unlike the two European icons, the American sports car was conceived as a versatile model, capable of satisfying the needs of a wide range of customers.

The Ford Mustang was the model with the most customization options of all the cars that came out of the Detroit plants in the 1960s and this has been one of the keys to its success. Throughout its history it has been available in a wide range of power, performance and price levels, and with enough storage space and number of seats to be used regularly, at least by those without a large family.

The model was presented for the first time in 1964 and since then its production has been maintained without interruption. The seventh generation, unveiled this week at the Detroit auto show, includes innovations ranging from a fighter jet-inspired digital cockpit to new turbocharged and naturally aspirated engines.

“Investing in another generation of Mustang makes a great statement at a time when many of our competitors are exiting the internal combustion vehicle business,” said Farley.

Ford is the only one of the three Detroit manufacturers that has decided to stay in this segment. General Motors is expected to end production of the Chevrolet Camaro in 2024 , while Stellantis said it will end production of the Charger and Challenger next year.

2024 Ford Mustang Features

The new generation of Mustang has an appearance that respects the tradition, but inside it has a lot of technology with which the American manufacturer seeks to attract a wide variety of consumers.

“We knew what customers wanted and designed the most digital Mustang ever while retaining the all-important driver-centric cabin,” said Ricardo Garcia, Ford interior design manager.

The fighter jet-inspired cockpit offers the driver two fluid, curved displays that can be quickly customized to display the information the driver wants or needs to see.

“Removing some of these physical buttons, like the radio and climate control, and integrating them into a digital display was popular in the research with Millennial, Gen-Z and traditional Mustang drivers alike.”

The new Mustang offers two engines that sit at the extremes of efficiency: a powerful naturally aspirated 5.0-liter Coyote V8 on one side, and an all-new 2.3-liter EcoBoost turbocharged four-cylinder on the other.

Mustang will be available with a standard six – speed manual transmission or the refreshed 10 – speed automatic transmission .

Each model in the Mustang lineup has its own unique front end. GT differs from EcoBoost models by larger, more aggressive grille openings designed to allow more airflow, reflecting the increased power and performance.

Mustang Dark Horse: a version for the race track

Ford hopes to maintain its global leadership in the muscle car segment by continuing to not only update the Mustang, but also add new variants. The latest of these is the Mustang Dark Horse, designed with a focus on the track.

“We took the all-new Mustang, which features the best of our new 5.0-liter V8 performance, and added power, improved aerodynamics, improved tires, improved steering, and added a much more user-interactive cockpit to create a Mustang that it outperforms any Mustang GT that has come before it,” Ed Krenz, Mustang chief engineer, said in a statement.

A special team of Ford engineers, designers and experts worked for more than three years to create the Mustang Dark Horse model, which expands the Mustang lineup and, according to Ford, “sets a new benchmark for performance on the streets and tracks”.

The heart of the Mustang Dark Horse is its 5.0-liter Coyote V8 engine that was specially modified and designed to deliver the most performance in the new Mustang family. The camshafts were strengthened and the forged crankshaft and piston rods first introduced in the 760-horsepower Ford Performance Mustang Shelby GT500 were used.

The available Mustang Dark Horse Performance Package includes an auxiliary engine oil cooler, a rear axle cooler, a lighter radiator with improved cooling capacity, more powerful fans and carbon fiber wheels.

“Whether convertible or coupe, V8 or turbocharged 4-cylinder, manual or automatic, Mustang has options at multiple price points and performance levels,” the brand said in a statement.

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