By on December 5, 2013

mattsmustang

(The Mustang in that photo isn’t just here for irony — it’s for sale! Down to $799 OBO… it’s a GT and the seller is a well-known decent guy in Ohio. Contact us for details — JB)

Embargoes be damned. There’s not a soul on the planet who cared about the 2015 Mustang who couldn’t have told you everything you wanted to know about it before today. Independent Rear Suspension. Fastback. EcoBoost 2.3 liter four-cylinder option. No room for the beloved (or maligned, by ZL1 fans) 5.8 supercharged Shelby motor. The first Mustang to become global under Mulally’s pet project, One Ford. Either god-awful ugly or beautiful, depending on the eye of the beholder. It’s hard to remember a pony car that generated this much buzz.

As an owner of a 2013 Boss 302, I take an especially personal interest in this launch. The Boss 302 did exactly what it was supposed to have done in my case—it enticed somebody who had the budget and the inclination to buy an E92 M3 to visit a Ford dealer instead. I’d never, ever thought of myself as a potential “Mustang man” before the introduction of it. In fact, the S197 as a whole did a great deal to change the perception of Mustangs amongst the upper middle class. It no longer seems strange to see a Mustang in the driveway of a $300K house. In 2011, the V6 went from a joke to a 300+ horsepower, respectable, smart option for lower cost performance. The GT brought back the 5.0, much to the delight of all Robby Van Winkle fans. And, of course, the latest incarnation of the Shelby GT500 was simply sublime, providing mind-boggling horsepower and torque in a mass production car that may never be seen again.

But perception doesn’t always equal reality. Something went wrong with this fairy tale. The Mustang hasn’t cracked 100k sales since 2007, and actually had its worst sales run in the fifty year history of the model in the last four years. It has lagged slightly behind the Camaro in sales for several years and has seen the Challenger creeping up in its limited rear visibility as of late.

So perhaps the time for change is now. Perhaps the decision to abandon the live rear axle that has been the most Mustangish of all Mustang qualities was the right one if Ford has any hope of competing overseas. The available paddle shifters may as well be designed to shift paradigms as well as gears. Paddle shifters? On a ‘Stang? The mind boggles just a bit. MyFord Touch is rearing its less-than-well-received head again here, and this time it has KNOBS. GTFO. And apparently, there’s even a place to put your sunglasses in the 2015, you know, for those times when putting them in the glove box just won’t do at all.

I’ve never sat behind the wheel of a 2015 Mustang, never touched its three-inch-wider Mixalotian rear end. I’ve never felt the IRS adjust for the bumpy Kentucky backroads around my town that tend to greatly upset the solid axle of my 302. Visually, it certainly looks every bit a Mustang, so much so that I doubt the man on the street will really be able to identify it as a new model (well, at least from the front). And there’s really no reason at all to not think that this brave new Mustang world won’t be a great improvement over the current generation.

But as I consumed all the leaks and the photos and the hype this week that led up to the announcement, I began to feel something that no thirty-six year old man ever wants to admit he feels. I started to feel a bit of nostalgia. While all the right things are being said about this not being a “global Mustang,” doesn’t it kinda feel like it is? And in an age where American Exceptionalism is routinely mocked, I honestly can’t figure out if I should be proud that Ford is making the equivalent of red label Levi’s for Russian kids available worldwide, or saddened that they are making changes to the fundamental nature of what a Mustang is in order to do it. Does the Mustang NEED to be a global car? Can’t they just sell a few more Focuses (Foci?) over in Europe and call it a day? Should I just end this paragraph with “And I would have gotten away with it, too, if it wasn’t for those meddling kids and their dumb dog?”

Ford says they’ll sell close to 100,000 Mustangs next year. I believe them. I hope they do. But I don’t think that one of them will be to me. I don’t suspect many other Boss or Shelby owners will be lining up either. I’m kind of glad that I got one of the last live axle, touchscreen-lacking, fuel-guzzling dinosaurs. I own a Mustang. Loud, brash, and unapologetic. And I have a feeling that my resale value might have just ticked upwards a bit… but it doesn’t matter. This one won’t be for sale.

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170 Comments on “Bark’s Bites: The Mustang Is Dead, Long Live The Mustang...”


  • avatar
    danio3834

    I wouldn’t trade in the BOSS just yet either. Thought new Stang looks great, there are still PLENTY of special and performance editions to come.

  • avatar
    DeadWeight

    If you want a great deal and like the current gen ‘Stang, be patient, grasshoppers.

    I have a feeling the stunning beauty of the redesign (something I rarely say about any car, let alone pony car, let alone Ford) is going to – unfortunately for dealers and current owners – exert more than a little downward impact on the value of the current model.

    It’ll be a no win proposition for Ford, from the standpoint of current customer loyalty, if the 2015 performs at least as well as on the road as the current model, since the ’15 is soooo much better looking that it’s ridonkulous.

    • 0 avatar

      I don’t expect the dealers to struggle here. Ford will rebate them to the point that you’ll wish you were blind as an excuses for buying the current model over the new one. Mustangs don’t get traded in quite as often as other vehicles it seems so current owners won’t be as affected as say fusion owners of the 2012 model.

      • 0 avatar
        DeadWeight

        I think you may be correct, in the final analysis.

        Ford Dealers will do whatever it takes to sell their inventory of the current gen, and there definitely are people like Bark who actually do prefer the current gen, whether for reasons of looks and/or rear suspension setup (i.e. rickshaw springs).

  • avatar
    raph

    I’m liking the GT and can’t wait for pricing. I suspect fully loaded in coupe form the GT will be every bit as expensive if not more so than your Boss.

    In compensation the GT is supposed to be as fast or faster though when it comes to running around whatever proving grounds and tracks they used to develop the car.

    Only a few more months left on the GT500 then I think I’ll wait for the bugs to be worked out and put away some money for a nice fat down payment as I figure by then a topped out GT will be every bit of 50k or a bit more.

  • avatar
    michal1980

    i’ll take the mustang in the photo, as long as it runs, and we can work out a deal to make it a lemons legal transaction.

  • avatar
    hinest3

    I’ll buy the mustang in the picture. Email me Please!

  • avatar
    old5.0

    Spot on. I’ve been saying this for some time; for all the media hype over Ford’s “home run” with the ’05-present car, it’s been a failure in terms of sales. 80-89 was the last decade that the car came close to maintaining it’s historical sales rate. I’ve got my own theory about the why’s and wherefore’s, but no room here. Just glad to see someone else point out the elephant in the room.

    • 0 avatar
      raph

      You do know Ford had only projected 80k units a year when the S197 was introduced and that was with no competition in sight.

      The coupe market was drying up through the 90’s. GM execution of the f-body shows how far it had shrunk. When the S-197 sold as well as it did people were shocked.

      • 0 avatar
        Dave M.

        Exactly. This ain’t 1964, 1970, 1974, 1979 or even 1993. Pony car sales are very dead….<100k is quite realistic, 40-50k once the shiny wears off….

        • 0 avatar
          old5.0

          People had been proclaiming the end of the muscle-coupe market long before the 90’s happened along. Ford was squawking about that very subject clear back in 1980. Everybody remembers the late 80’s Probestang; relatively few remember that Ford had originally planned to replace the Fox with a front-driver by ‘83 or ’84. We see how that turned out. The real issue here is cost. In 1993, the biggest, baddest musclecar on a Ford lot would have been an LX coupe with the 5.0, 5-speed, 3.08 TC drivetrain and no options. Such a car could be purchased for around $13,000. In 1996, the equivalent straight-line speed required one to first to track down an “SVT Certified Dealer” (and wouldn’t I love to meet the snot-nosed MBA who came up with that bit of phenomenally pretentious bullshit. As though they were selling Ferraris and not Fords) and then lay out $26,000 for the privilege of stepping up to the Cobra. Doubling the price of your fastest car in a three-year span is not a recipe for success. As far as the Camarobird is concerned, again, cost. GM had priced themselves out of being a serious player in that market years before. In the late 80’s, when a basic 5.0 Mustang LX could be had for just under ten grand, a loaded IROC or Trans Am GTA cost the best part of twenty. Not to mention the fact that the Mustang was always more usable on a day-to-day basis. No surprise those cars got axed. The only surprise was that they lasted as long as they did.

          The S-197 was a symptom of problem that went back much farther than 2005. Of course Ford’s expectations were low; sales had stunk out loud for years. Does anyone remember 1994? That was the first retro Mustang, not the 2005. “Look at me!” the ads screamed. “I have a running horse in the grille! I have side scoops! I have triple-segmented taillights! I’m just like an old Mustang!” Yeah. What Ford forgot to include in those ads was that the new car was softer, slower, and considerably more expensive than the old one. Excellent strategy, that.

          The Mustang was at its best when its target audience was… well, everybody. When it was car that appealed and was accessible to everyone from college kids to professional street racers to Bob the Florist to your great aunt Edna. Does anyone seriously want to argue that it’s still that car? Beginning with the Cobra in 1993 and the SN-95 in 1994, Ford made a conscious decision to abandon the car’s populist roots and turn it into a toy for Baby Boomers with disposable income in their pockets, and prices rose accordingly. So now we say that a broad swath of consumers is no longer interested in rear-drive sports coupes. Why? Did they spontaneously stop caring, or did Ford (and Chevrolet and Pontiac) stop building cars they could afford to care about?

          It’s academic at this point anyway, since we’re talking about decisions made a quarter of a century ago. I like the new car, and I think the global direction is the necessary one if the car is going to live to see its 60th birthday.

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    The Mustang evolves, the Mustang changes, the Mustang tries to keep in step with the times. 50 years is a long damn time for a name to survive in automotive circles. The only other American sports/muscle car who’s name hasn’t gone out of production for a few years at a time is… Corvette.

    • 0 avatar
      Mr Imperial

      Damn good point, Dan. Ford has done something right with the brand to keep it going, longer than any other comparable car.

      “And in an age where American Exceptionalism is routinely mocked, I honestly can’t figure out if I should be proud that Ford is making the equivalent of red label Levi’s for Russian kids available worldwide, or saddened that they are making changes to the fundamental nature of what a Mustang is in order to do it.”

      I also lament the mocking of America abroad, some deserved, some not. The world today is a global market, like it or not, and if your company has presence internationally, adapting your product for mass appeal can make sense.

      Ford appears to have struck a good balance between staying true to history of the model, but adapting for international appeal, IMO.

    • 0 avatar

      Cough 1983 cough. Still a great point. It’s not like this is just a family sedan where name isn’t as important but rather a car that is bought partially for its stigma of ownership. Considering what the mustang has been over the years, it’s pretty impressive that it’s still such a desirable name despite the early 70s Mustang and the Mustang II (not to mention the very first fox bodies). Luckily for Dodge no one remembers the late 70s early 80s Challenger as they were all scraped by 1984.

    • 0 avatar
      AMC_CJ

      It’s not a sports car, but don’t forget about the Jeep Wrangler. Probably the least changed vehicle in history.

    • 0 avatar
      TMA1

      Hasn’t the Suburban name been going nonstop since 1933?

      • 0 avatar
        Speed3

        I was just going to say that the new Suburban is the 12th generation and has been in production since 33 (says wikipedia)

        • 0 avatar
          PrincipalDan

          Guys I didn’t say it was the LONGEST LIVED NAME. I was just comparing it to its competitors and mentioning that the Mustang name is very long lived compared to the market segment(s) it generally competes in.

  • avatar
    Short Bus

    This all works out great for me. Since about 2005 I’ve been a fan of the Mustang, and the new one looks great as well. The addition of the IRS is nice because it saves money that would have been spent on a Watts link.

    When I’m finally ready to go car shopping again I love that I’ll have plenty of great options to choose from on the used market.

  • avatar
    kosmo

    I echo your thoughts, and have even briefly considered grabbing one of the last 14s.

    But I suspect you (we) are getting sucked into the common diatribe of current owners anytime a new version of their beloved anything is released.

    And they are almost always wrong in nearly every regard — the really obvious exception being owners of nicely kept NA Miatas.

    • 0 avatar
      Macca

      ^ “…getting sucked into the common diatribe of current owners anytime a new version of their beloved anything is released…” – EXACTLY.

      Everyone thinks THEIR generation of any car is the high watermark of the lineage. Either subsequent versions gained weight, gained too much refinement or tech (see comments in this very thread), or quality dropped off. Certainly there is validity in some of these claims, but it amazes me how every time a new version of even a pedestrian econobox is introduced, owners of the older version claim some sort of superiority. I can only think that this is driven by a little sting of jealousy.

      • 0 avatar
        DevilsRotary86

        “Everyone thinks THEIR generation of any car is the high watermark of the lineage.”

        Then I am pleased to introduce myself as an exception. I daily drive a 2006 Acura RSX Type-S (neé Integra). I love my Acura and it truly is the perfect car for me right now. However, I am fully aware that it doesn’t quite hold a candle to the 3rd generation models.

        But, while it doesn’t quite have the performance of the Integra Type R, I still stubbornly assert that my 4th generation is easier to live with than the 3rd generation cars were.

    • 0 avatar
      3Deuce27

      “owners of nicely kept NA Miatas.” I be one of those.

  • avatar
    bachewy

    I bought my ’14 GT500 because I knew it would be the last of the generation. This new model is starting to grow on me and I love the upgrades like keyless start, IRS, KNOBS (hate the Sync), and so on. I’m real curious to see what high-end versions come out of Ford SVT and Shelby America’s garage.

  • avatar
    Short Bus

    The more I look at the new Mustang the more I like it. If they get the weight down from the outgoing model you could probably talk me into purchasing one with a V-6 as long as they upgrade the driveshaft to something that doesn’t explode over 120 MPH.

    • 0 avatar
      Sam P

      From what I’ve seen of the new generation, I like it.

      As the BMW 3 series declines into irrelevance, Ford is really stepping up its game to the point that this BMW owner may be visiting a Ford showroom to drive and possibly buy a new Mustang in a couple years. I could write a check for a new GT 5.0 right now, but want to see how the new generation shakes out.

  • avatar

    THREE inches wider? Say what? The existing Mustang felt oppressively huge to me already so much that I found myself more at home in the Toyobaru, despite its lack of power. If I wanted a Challenger, I would’ve bought a Challenger.

    • 0 avatar
      TMA1

      I agree with you there – all the current muscle cars are just too big. I’m hoping the next-gen Alpha-based Camaro is significantly smaller.

      • 0 avatar
        NoGoYo

        The current Camaro is over six feet wide, over 15 feet long, and only about 3 inches narrower than a Ferrari Testarossa:

        Ferrari TR: 77.8 inches
        Camaro: 75.5 inches

        It really could use some downsizing. It’s like Detroit decided the solution to there no longer being mid-sized muscle cars was to make pony cars into mid-sized muscle cars…that’s great and all, but now we just have oversized pony-cars.

        • 0 avatar
          dtremit

          Pony cars have never been particularly narrow — they’re wide and short, which is what makes them look distinctive.

          The Camaro was 74″ wide starting in ’69, and 75″ wide from ’70-’82.

          Mustang was 71″ wide by ’67, and got as wide as 74″ in the ’70s.

          • 0 avatar
            NoGoYo

            Huh, I guess pony cars haven’t grown as much as I thought. They definitely seem taller than they used to be, though. Even though they actually really aren’t, the first-gen Camaro is only a handful of inches shorter than its current counterpart…

            I blame beltlines. Drop the beltline and put on smaller wheels and I guarantee these modern pony cars would look much less oversized.

      • 0 avatar
        agent534

        The current Camaro and Challenger are really sized to be personal luxury coupes doing double duty as muscle cars. They are what the Monte Carlo and Thunderbirds were. Mustang is the only pony car out there now.

    • 0 avatar
      burgersandbeer

      The 3″ difference is for the rear track width. The body is wider by about 1.5″ (75.4″ vs 73.9″).

      That’s still a noticeable bump up from something that was already too wide though. I thought my old 540 was about the widest car I would care to drive, and that was only 70.9″.

  • avatar
    AMC_CJ

    I have pretty mixed feelings on this as well. The verdict is going to be made when I drive one in person. But either way, our 12′ is garaged kept, we don’t use it for daily driving, and when I have it paid off summer of 16′ it should have less then 50k miles and be in great condition still.

    So, I don’t think I’ll be trading it in. Be nice not to have a car payment for awhile; maybe I can save up for that 64′ Chrysler Imperial I’ve been dreaming of.

    I knew the 12′ was going to be something special. If I had the money, I would of snatched up a Boss 302 too. The 13′ refresh really fuglied up the front end, and I knew this next one was going to be a bit smaller. It doesn’t look bad, but I really love the simpler lines, interior, and just the simpler nature overall. When we bought it, the plain radio was a big selling point for us. We don’t want a computer in our car, and I hope this touchscreen isn’t a standard feature for this one….

    • 0 avatar
      Mr Imperial

      Ahem, my good man…

      Imperial was its own brand in 1964 (“splitting” from Chrysler in 1955 through 1975). Models available were the Imperial Custom, Imperial Crown, and Imperial LeBaron.

      Most people still call them Chysler Imperials, but calling one would be like a “General Motors Cadillac Eldorado” or “Ford Lincoln Mark II.”

      Just sayin ;)

      • 0 avatar
        Lie2me

        Before 1955 it was a Chrysler Imperial and a Imperial by Chrysler. People just continued to call them that. There was also the “Imperial Crown Imperial” limousine model from ’55-’65

    • 0 avatar
      Bark M.

      I actually much prefer the ’13 refresh, but to each his own.

    • 0 avatar
      johnny_5.0

      It took me a little while to warm to the ’13, mostly because the first pics I saw when it was revealed were of that vert with the absolutely horrendous ghetto fabulous wheels. But I immediately thought the rear end was more cohesive than the ’10-’12 which always seemed like a half finished design afterthought compared to the cleaner ’05-’09. The ’13-’14 rear looked worlds better especially on certain colors like white/black/grabber blue/school bus yellow. This one I instantly liked. Someone will likely get to enjoy a low mileage ’13 from me once these have hit sufficient inventory to pick up one for a song.

  • avatar
    Sam P

    “It no longer seems strange to see a Mustang in the driveway of a $300K house. ”

    From that statement, I can tell that you live in Ohio.

    300k around here (Seattle) is a small house in the suburbs with a kitchen that hasn’t been renovated since the 1970s. Usually with a Toyota Corolla in the driveway or a well-used Outback.

  • avatar
    Luke

    I don’t know, Bark. I don’t think any modern Mustang really loves up to the ideal of a “brash, unapologetic, gas-guzzling dinosaur”. Your Boss may be close, and the GT500 even closer, but they are still modern cars with emissions equipment, AC, and all the rest.

    If you want to be a crass, unapologetic, “America F-yeah!” tire-smoking flag waver go find yourself a Boss 429. To me, driving a real big block muscle car from the late 60’s (ideally while armed) is the ultimate stick in the eye to the PC world.

    • 0 avatar
      Bark M.

      I agree. However, I think that five years from now, people may view the 302 in the same light in comparison.

      • 0 avatar
        Luke

        You may be right. At least you drive yours. I fear that can’t be said for most of the “special edition” muscle cars that have come out recently.

        Example: When Chevy rolled out the 1LE and Z28 I just rolled my eyes…they are nothing but transparent “investment” bait for dumb Boomers that think they’ll be able to take them to Barrett Jackson in 5 years. Will premiums really be paid for those cars? History proves otherwise. My dad passed on a fire sale deal on a Plymouth Superbird at a used car lot in 1974. The world had changed, it was just a gas guzzling used car with limited real world utility.

        Tempis fugit…we should enjoy today what may be gone tomorrow! Anyway, a Boss ‘9 would look awesome IN ADDITION TO your 302. Ideally a guy should have both.

      • 0 avatar
        Sam P

        I distinctly remember reading in a Popular Science article in 1992 that the W140 S Class, with 408 horsepower from its 6.0 liter V12, would be the “ultimate high water mark” in luxury sedans due to increasingly stringent emissions standards and fuel economy concerns.

        Needless to say, that didn’t happen and cars have gotten more powerful and faster despite increasingly stringent emissions regulations and fuel economy standards.

        I seriously doubt much will change in 5 years.

    • 0 avatar
      raph

      Meh a full exhaust GT500 is pretty crass and unapologetic ( http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5H4XFPJZnpE )

  • avatar
    olddavid

    The 30-something pondering mortality. You have a wreck lately, or a false positive?

  • avatar
    GoFaster58

    Love the new Mustang. Best one yet. For all of the naysayers, Ford will laugh all the way to the bank.

  • avatar
    kyngfish

    So the more I look at the redesign, the more I like it. It actually takes the current design and makes the rear-end a little sleeker looking, and the front-end isn’t terribly compelling, but at least it’s handsome. In what way though, is this a global car at the cost of anything “Mustang”? If smaller and lighter and wider is a quibble, I fail to see how this could be bad in ANY way. If the solid rear axle made it more “Mustang” and by “Mustang” you mean, “old and outdated”, well then I don’t need that kind of nostalgia. The ONLY real global nod I see is the turbo-four, but so what? More horsepower, broader torque band, and if Ford had it in 67, they would have used it all day and twice on Sunday. Cars today are heavier, more fuel efficient, and handle better, and Ford would be stupid to just sit behind everyone else.

    In my opinion this latest iteration of the Mustang hearkens back to the classic just as much as any of the previous generations, and probably more than anything from 1974 – 2005. If Ford wants to make the Mustang a competitive mid-range sports car, then I say go to it. And if anyone thinks that the 5.0 is going to sound anything other than hellacious, then they’re crazy.

    • 0 avatar
      Dave M.

      Here here. Nothing wrong with dashing to the future with a nod to the past. I’m interested in the turbo-4…my Saab has one and it goes like stink. The only envy I would have is that V8 gutteral growl, although the Saab has quite the burble at start up.

      Maybe they can fit the 4 with some type of sound device….

  • avatar
    Carzzi

    “Mixalotian rear end”: had to do a double-take there, so to speak.

  • avatar
    Pinzgauer

    I went and saw the unveiling this morning at Good Morning America in times square. The car is nice in person, but I like my Boss better. Mulally was there doing the ol smile and handshake in front of the car. The one they brought out was a V6 or Ecoboost model, it wasn’t a GT. Overall it was a cool experience to be a part of.

  • avatar
    mechimike

    So the world changes.

    I was wondering the other day, what would this world be like if car manufacturers were actually allowed to offer “heritage” editions of cars they used to make? What if one could still buy a brand new 1953 Corvette, or a 1964 Mustang, or any of a number of so-called “important” cars throughout history?

    My guess is that they would sell very few. We all here (including myself) lament what we’ve lost, but the fact is 90% or more of the people who buy new cars are very happy with what we’ve lost. So long, stick axles. Get lost, wind-down windows. Bye-bye DIN radios and simple HVAC controls.

    That said, if Volvo did actually offer a “heritage” 122 Amazon, I’d buy one in a Baltimore second.

    • 0 avatar

      Umm, I bought a car with manual windows just recently. Simple locks, too. It did come with AC and power steering, I must admit, but oh well.

    • 0 avatar
      kvndoom

      KIA Forte LX sedan. No moonroof, no cruise, has roll down windows, and a true-to-god double DIN radio.

      Was a little TOO barebones for me though. I stepped up a couple notches.

    • 0 avatar
      azmtbkr81

      I’ve often wondered that too, although I suspect even as enthusiasts we’d be underwhelmed long term with the overall quality, comfort, and reliability. I really do miss stick shifts and simple, truck-like SUVs but that’s about it.

      Luckily it’s not too hard to get your hands on a nicely restored, perhaps better than new, 60’s Mustang for much less than the price of a 2014 Mustang if you really want one.

    • 0 avatar
      Dave M.

      Yeah I think the sooner Volvo goes back to modern boxes the better they’d sell.

      I agree wholeheartedly….I love looking at old iron but much prefer to drive modern, safe cars full of conveniences.

  • avatar

    Hey Bark! I respectfully disagree. The last Mustang hadn’t been hitting sales targets because the market has shifted. Loud, unapologetic is ok and has a certain appeal to some, but gas guzzling is no longer a virtue. Refined, obedient and well mannered would probably bring in more customers than loud and unapologetic. The world has changed and so has the US. So must the Mustang, or else it would sink into irrelevance. Detroit got the wake up call it seems. Ford in fact got it before GM and Chrysler and didn’t have to die and resurrect. I think they see the light clearly.

    It’s a brave new world my friend. Embrace it.

    • 0 avatar
      Sam P

      “but gas guzzling is no longer a virtue”

      The outgoing Mustang V6 got 31 mpg, with 305 horsepower. Even by today’s standards, that’s very fuel efficient for a car that runs to 60 mph in the mid 5 second range.

      • 0 avatar

        But Marcelo being so deceived by look as not to consider the facts is exactly the reason why Mustang was slipping. That, and Challenger stealing sales.

      • 0 avatar

        Hey SamP!

        That’s true, but how many people shy away from this kind of car due to the image? Most people are not car lovers like us. In terms of fuel economy most people thin I4 good, V-whatever bad. Sort of like here where more modern 1.6 engines oftentimes are as if not more economical than 1.0 while more fun (most of the time). Most people who are not into cars simply don’t get that.

        • 0 avatar
          Sam P

          Judging by the fact that the best selling vehicle in the Mustang’s biggest market is a pickup truck that comes standard with a large V6 and can be equipped with a 6.2 liter V8 and gets low 20 mpg fuel economy at best, I think the Mustang will be fine from a fuel economy perspective.

          • 0 avatar

            No doubt. In the US a V6 Mustang can be and is seen as an economical option, the famous “secretary’s car”. However, had that hypothetical secretary been offered an I4, wouldn’t some have bitten? I seem to remember a discussion here on TTAC about how scores of people have grown up on a steady diet of Japanese I4s and how many consider it more than enough. In the US now, apparently I4s are now the majority of engines sold. How many hp and torque would that 2.3 EcoBoost have again?

            Anyways, a big stumbling block for Mustang’s the world over have always been the large engines. With an I4, which at 2.3 L would still be considered a large engine in many parts of the world, the Mustang becomes more palatable to a wider audience the world over. An audience which Ford seems to acknowledge exists in the US too.

            It’ll be interesting to see the take rate for the smaller engine in the US. It could answer, or at least be an indication, of the future of the American market.

          • 0 avatar
            dtremit

            @Marcelo Only if the 4cyl was cheaper, I would wager. There are very few American buyers who will pay more for “less,” and almost none are in this market segment.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            I agree with dtremit. In a car of this type, anything less than a V6 doesn’t seem appropriate. I don’t think the masses would take to it unless you hike up the V6 and V6 so much the I4 becomes “cheap” in comparison, then they might give it a spin.

        • 0 avatar
          krhodes1

          It’s not just a “four banger”, it’s a 4 cylinder turbo. I’ll take a turbo over a bigger engine with more cylinders any day, and twice on an autocross course on Sunday. Technology IS a replacement for displacement.

          This car is on the very short list to be a replacement for my Abarth next year. Along with the BMW 228i, which is pretty nice company for a mere Mustang.

      • 0 avatar
        3Deuce27

        31 MPG? I have put a fair number of miles on a V-6 Mustangs and have never seen anything above 26 MPG even on trips doing a bit of hypermiling.

  • avatar

    As a 2010 Mustang owner waiting to buy the new 2015 I am reasonably pleased. Overall the car is much less like ‘an old mans car’, and that is good. When they went for the ‘muscle car look’ they fell back on the old Mustang for design cues, I would rather Ford would have taken a leap forward on this. I read that this is a reworked 2015 design, the original not having enough Mustang cues. Sometimes compromising is a bad thing.

  • avatar
    Bored383

    the mustang name survived being slapped on a pinto – it is far from dead with this latest iteration

  • avatar
    Steven Lang

    The big issue with a USA-spec Mustang is demographics.

    The average age for a new car buyer is right around 60. Sales for nearly all sporty two door vehicles are circling the counter-clockwise spiral of this demographic shift.

    Meanwhile, the far more youthful emerging markets of the modern day offer a far stronger long-term market. No, that’s not a political statement. The fact is the USA now has an amazing array of high-spec used cars that make buying (or keeping) an older used car a far better value proposition.

    I love Mustangs… especially the current one. But they are incredibly tough to sell now because everyone who likes em’ already has em’. That and you’re competing against older folks who more or less already have museum pieces in their garage.

    • 0 avatar
      DeadWeight

      De facto two seaters are handicapped out of the gate, as it is, given the potential pool of buyers who really need a useable backseat in what will be a daily driver, too.

      This alone severely limits the ability to expand sales, whether we’re speaking of the Vette, Stang, Miata, Toybarus, etc.

      The number of buyers who a) either can get by with two seats in a daily driver, or b) can afford a de facto two seater as a 2nd “weekend car” is really pretty fixed and quite small, relative to the overall % of potential car shoppers.

  • avatar
    rudiger

    One of the main elements of the Mustang’s success (and just about any specialty vehicle) is the ability of the manufacturer to spread out costs by using an existing, already developed platform/drivetrain/parts. Even the Corvette, for decades, drew from existing GM products for at least some of its content. From the Falcon, Torino, Pinto, and Fairmont, the Mustang has always done this, as well.

    But, now, with the exit of the Panther in 2011 and Ranger in 2012, I wonder what platform the 2015 Mustang is going to be drawing from for key components. Maybe one of the RWD SUVs like, say, the Explorer? Does the new Mustang’s IRS exist in any form, anywhere else in the Ford lineup?

    If not, and the 2015 Mustang is one of the most parts-specific Mustangs in the vehicle’s history, the sales required to recoup these development costs might be much more critical to the car’s longevity than in any past ‘brand-new’ Mustang.

    • 0 avatar

      My understanding is that the IRS may have been borrowed from the Fusion.

      • 0 avatar
        bball40dtw

        Now I want a RWD Fusion.

      • 0 avatar
        racer-esq.

        “My understanding is that the IRS may have been borrowed from the Fusion.”

        I don’t believe it, Toyota/Subaru pulled that with the FR-S/BRZ and now they are capped at 200 HP. This is a one-off suspension designed to handle the massive power that will be thrown at it in eventual special editions.

        However, if you are correct then people should start buying AWD Fusions and removing the front half shafts.

        • 0 avatar
          danio3834

          I’m not sure about the new Fusions, but the clutch pack to the rear differential on the previous version couldn’t handle all available power for any serious length of time. It was only ever designed to be an “on demand” system. But I like the idea.

      • 0 avatar
        Athos Nobile

        From what I have read on the interwebZ, the suspension layout is very similar to Falcon.

        Rear has something similar to the “Control Blade” IRS of the Aussie.

        The front seems to have lost the upper control arm, as the Falcon also has a 2 ball joint arrangement in the lower part.

    • 0 avatar

      My understanding from the Ford press conference is that the IRS was developed specifically for the 2015 Mustang and will not be on any other Ford vehicle.

    • 0 avatar
      badcoffee

      The Explorer/Edge/Escape/Flex are all primarily FWD with optional AWD (NOT 4×4 like Ford wants you to think.) The only thing RWD in Ford’s NA line-up is the F-series and its platform-mates the Expedition and outgoing E-Series. Ford has consistently said they won’t platform share the Falcon with the Mustang, so it pretty much has to be its own platform.

      Now the smart thing would be for them to put Lincoln sheetmetal on a mustang platform and call it a Zephyr. And for that matter make a falcon-based continental. But we all know that won’t happen. They’re too happy giving us MkBoring

  • avatar
    Dan R

    The Mustang has changed.
    Ford are in the business of making money, not Mustangs.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      Auto mfgs at large are in the business of making money, which is why all of them are more interested in building the exact same car (midsize I4 sedan) than things like the Mustang, which I imagine is almost a side project in comparison. Too many brands, too many choices to buy the same thing. I think if we’d start losing OEMs those smaller frys who could survive the carnage (i.e. Mazda) might turn to building truly innovative car models instead of being forced to chase the Jonese. In the current climate focusing on building something “different” (i.e. RX-8) can be the kiss of death for your brand.

  • avatar
    slance66

    I’m not sure I get the idea that an antiquated live axle is what made the Mustang what it is. The new care is gorgeous, hell DeadWeight even likes it and he can’s stand any Ford. It feels like a natural progression to me. If it was FWD or the turbo 4 was the sole engine…that would be an issue. But it looks like a Mustang, and goes like a Mustang, and will probably handle better than prior Mustangs. What is there to complain about in that?

    As for touch screens, even manufacturer should offer every car with good old analog gauges and no LCDs in sight.

  • avatar
    RS

    What happens to the BRZ/FR-S with the introduction of this new Mustang? Pricing for a V6 should be nearly the same.

    • 0 avatar

      This should be an interesting fight in the market. As much as I liked driving one of the Twins, the interior is genuinely awful. The S197 Mustang was not so great either but the new one looks terrific. The BRZ/FR-S is light and quick but not very fast whereas the Mustang will still be heavy and powerful even in V6 form. As a potential buyer I am leaning much more towards the Mustang now.

      • 0 avatar
        DeadWeight

        I drove the Scion FR-S and loathed it. I realize my tastes differ from others, but found it way too cramped, with way too much road noise, and that it had an awful suspension setup, which made it a terrible choice as a daily driver for people who want at least some semblance of civility on anything but glass smooth roads.

        Then, there was the cheap interior materials and look, along with the lack of power.

        If the new ‘Stang is half as civilized as the current one, and it should be more so given the rear IRS and what appears to be a major upgrade in interior material, AND its price doesn’t rise too appreciably (especially on the 4 cylinder and – hopefully – V6 models), I think the Toybarus will need a serious upgrade to keep from losing sales to the ‘Stang.

        • 0 avatar
          3Deuce27

          FRS? Don’t see the FRS/BRZ as you do Deadweight, except for the road noise.

          Handling is more then adequate as, is, the power, and I drive and build cars with super car performance. The suspension and tires/wheels are easily upgraded for very good track performance. Wouldn’t touch the power, just fine as, is.

          But, I do agree that the new Mustang threatens the sales of the twins. I was waiting to see the new Mustang to make a choice of one or the other, and now I am frustrated about having to wait so long to order the new Mustang. And, apparently, the launch of a new Camaro will be on the heels of the new Mustang.

        • 0 avatar
          dtremit

          The interior of the FR-S/BRZ was really what screamed “you are not the target market!” at me.

        • 0 avatar
          tekdemon

          Since this new stang apparently wasn’t able to lose a lot of weight I doubt it’ll really be cross shopped that much vs the frs. I guess they went with a more usable trunk and more interior space over weight savings, so it’ll still be a vastly different beast.

      • 0 avatar
        burgersandbeer

        The new Mustang interior does look great, but keep in mind these pics probably show the top trim level. I doubt the base trim will have a leather/vinyl padded dash and center console with real aluminum trim. The center stack will look much different on a base model as well.

        Having said that, the Twins’ interior really does look crappy. Even the base Mustang interior should still have it beat.

  • avatar
    Pch101

    “making changes to the fundamental nature of what a Mustang is in order to do it.”

    That happened a long time ago.

    The original Mustang was a stylish coupe body bolted to a family car chassis. It was a cost amortization exercise, a way to milk more sales out of mass produced parts.

    Those days are long gone. The rear-wheel drive family car is dead, which forces the Mustang to have a lot of unique components. The coupe market has declined considerably so that it is now a fairly small niche.

    At the same time, the market has become more competitive, with the Challenger and Camaro targeting the same shrinking base of buyers. All told, this is not a great situation for Ford.

    “Does the Mustang NEED to be a global car?”

    Not necessarily. But the platform absolutely needs to be.

  • avatar
    SomeGuy

    OP, don’t take this the wrong way, but you sound like a C6 owner who think the C7 is ugly and not a true Corvette and that their version is the best. The Boss 302 is fantastic, but the new GT will probably best it in nearly every way.

    Interior wise, the new Mustang is superior to the old one in every way. Not everyone wants to live in 1969. I almost bought a 2012+ GT but that interior is just too bad unless you spend $35k+, which is absurd for a car that looks similar to the $24k base model.

    By the way, I live in KY too, it is cool to see someone from our state writing on the site.

  • avatar
    RobertRyan

    I associate Mustang with small open topped cars used as tourist rentals in Hawaii.

  • avatar
    Alexdi

    They fixed everything that prevented me from buying it in 2010. Modern suspension. A decent interior. An engine choice beneath the high-dollar V8 that isn’t terrible. Styling that doesn’t make the giant ass so obvious. If it drives as well as it looks, it’ll be a home run. No nostalgia here.

  • avatar
    racerxlilbro

    Couple of thoughts:

    1) I’ve owned five ‘Stangs, including the ’65 my grandfather bought new in 1965. I like the new car, but am I the only one who looks at the roofline and thinks “Accord Coupe?”

    2) Am I really that out of touch that I can’t believe you referred to a $300k house as upper-middle class?

    • 0 avatar

      Are you thinking that it’s too inexpensive for upper middle class or too expensive? I live in Kentucky, so my cost of living reference is way out of wack.

      • 0 avatar
        racerxlilbro

        Hey Bark – where I live, $300k will get you a modest townhouse or condo in an “ok” neighborhood. Now, to be fair, it is one of the top three or four most expensive cities in the US.

        I recently visited Austin, TX, and was amazed to find custom built, 4,000+ sq. ft. lakefront homes for $800k. A similar home by me would cost three or four times that.

        • 0 avatar
          Dan R

          The trouble is that it would be rural texas.

        • 0 avatar
          MK

          Lol, wher I live I bought a 4000 sqft main house + a porticoed 1000 sqft fully equipped suite above the high bay heated/cooled 2car garage,+ separate 3 car garage on the main house, 1.3 acre, stonework “creek” and in a very good neighborhood for 300k.

          Everything’s relative but in the midsouth your housing dollah goes a LONG way….. Freeing up cash for the necessities like cars, gas, booze and women.

    • 0 avatar
      Hummer

      Around where I am 300k can get you about 3,000 sq ft in a fairly new house, and 10 or so acres.

      Our area is growing rapidly, crime is extremely localized and even then light-I leave my keys in my vehicles unlocked, and very good schools built in the last 5-10 years.

      Maybe not upper middle class, no I wouldn’t call it that, but solid middle class maybe.

    • 0 avatar
      3Deuce27

      Reg; ” looks at the roofline and thinks “Accord Coupe?””

      Was waiting for that comment. Actually, it is the whole silhouette and mien of the car. Super impose a silhouette of one on the other and you will see a close likeness. The Ford even has most of the bulky front overhang of the Accord and kicked up rear.

      The roof line is definitely First gen Mustang, and the way the DLO arches up from the drivers head position, should give better sight lines in what appears to be a high sill line compared to the greenhouse.

  • avatar
    tjh8402

    Unless they soften up the car and deaden the steering (the things BMW and Porsche rightfully are criticized for), I don’t see how this car will represent anything other than a major step forward over the current generation. We’ll have to see if and what a new BOSS looks like, but comparing equivalent models, I don’t think swapping in an IRS will make the new Mustang any less visceral than a current generation one. Yeah they may muffle the V8 some more, but that can be easily fixed. This one still looks like a Mustang, can be made to sound like a Mustang (if it doesn’t already), and will go like stink like a Mustang. I’m fine with Ford selling Europeans turbo 4s if it keeps the car alive and as long as we continue to get a V8 option.

  • avatar
    sportyaccordy

    The Mustang’s evolution into a world CLASS car is no stranger than that of the Corvette’s similar transformation.

    Like you said, there are a lot of folks who admire the Mustang’s performance, history and value, but just don’t want to deal with the quality issues or goofy image. Now, just like with the Corvette, the only reason anyone in the market for something like a Rustang would pass on one is just personal taste. You look at the C7 Vette vs a Cayman S for example, choosing between the two is just a matter of choosing what you value in a car… there is not really a huge objective sacrifice going one way or the other. Similarly, I think a LOT of folks who would look at something like a 435i or the new Lexus RC350 would be doing themselves a disservice not checking out this new Mustang.

    I’m out of the market for these cars, maybe for a long time… but if I was, whoo. I would definitely be checking these out. Hopefully they utilize this platform for Lincoln and make a 3 fighter. Can you imagine a $50K Mustang GT sedan? This has the potential to do a lot for Ford.

    • 0 avatar
      RobertRyan

      “The Mustang’s evolution into a world CLASS car is no stranger than that of the Corvette’s similar transformation.”

      Well it does not sell that well away from NA.

      • 0 avatar
        sportyaccordy

        That’s because of the engine choices and the size. It’s still huge, but I will bet the boring miserable little 4 banger diesels will make their way into European Mustangs this go round, broadening their appeal.

  • avatar
    Dan R

    Back in the day I had a ’83 Thunderbird. Tough as nails, if not refined.
    This would not persuade me me to go back to a heavily modified Fox platform.
    Maybe on EBay in seven years.

  • avatar
    Garak

    Bloody hell, a Mustang for 799 dollars? I’m going to buy a 2007 Lada for 990 euro on saturday, I thought that was cheap…

  • avatar
    Dan R

    Yes, but you will be driving a 2007 Lada, Victory To the Proletariat!

  • avatar
    APaGttH

    Well shoot, it could have been FWD and looked like a bubble on wheels with a Japanese engine.

    Wait a minute…

  • avatar
    Dan R

    Now DS means Diesel ‘Stang.

  • avatar
    Brian E

    Is American exceptionalism better demonstrated by a crude, gas-guzzling car with an outdated suspension design that can’t be sold outside the US, or by a world-class car designed and built in the US and sold worldwide?

    • 0 avatar
      Dan R

      It is better demonstrated by a reliable car. People these days cannot tolerate an unreliable car. Too much time (ie, money and commitments at stake).

      • 0 avatar
        krhodes1

        There are no unreliable cars any more, just some variety in the definition of reliable. Its like Lake Wobegon, ALL the children are above average. Nobody is what they once were, the Japanese got worse, the Europeans and Americans got better. Everyone has met more or less in the middle.

    • 0 avatar
      Hummer

      Well if world class gives me VW reliability, and on top of that part costs, then no I’d rather tried and true.
      Nothing gas-guzzling about the current mustang, not by a long shot, and the suspension is no more archaic than anything anyone else puts out, just different… In that it can handle abuse.

      Also no reason to design a quintessential American car for a world that buys econoboxes like they’re candy.

  • avatar
    bludragon

    I’m not sure what is not to like. Less weight, more power and better suspension than the current one. It’s not like they dropped the V8.

    Only reason to prefer today’s model one is price. According to true car, $30,501 gets a 2014 GT with track pack and Recaros. Now that is tempting!

    And I am clearly shopping for houses in the wrong area. 300k would not get you more than a shed. 900k would be a more reasonable price for a family home.

    • 0 avatar
      MK

      Yeah again it’s all relative.

      I read, with some amusement, some tech article where the author was bemused and bewildered that the F150 was the best selling vehicle in America. It wasn’t clear if he had ever even sat in one but BOY was he excited about the proposal for a friggin Tesla truck/ute thing. Lol. That’s some serious social insulation.

      Not saying I’d be driving my super crew in Manhattan but its a big country with a lot of variety, you’ve gotta appreciate that.
      And just Take a look at what 900k would get you inDetroit….

    • 0 avatar
      tekdemon

      A lot of places are suggesting the weight went up, Ford has refused to comment on weight so far if you notice.

  • avatar
    sirbunz

    I will hold out on my verdict until I drive, not the v8 version, but the 4 banger. Dunno … the idea of a strong 4cyl Stang leaves me curios! Agreed that the old, rugged, ill handling, numb, straight-line-only Muscle car is gone.

    -Bunz

  • avatar
    tekdemon

    Word is that the weight actually went up?! That’s my only real concern here.

  • avatar
    baconator

    Look, saying the Mustang will lose pony-car fans because it’s added some European dynamic virtues is like saying that Tea Partiers will suddenly vote for Democrats because the Republicans have gotten soft on crime. There’s still nothing more pony-er than a five point oh. The last live-axle Camaros and Challengers available are now old enough to drink. Where was the press assailing their drag-strip fortitude when the latest-gen models of those rivals came out? And where is the epidemic of snapped Camaro and Challenger halfshafts left shorn and smoking at the end of 1/4 strips?

    This Mustang has a big snoot, a short trunk, and a couple of motors with enough torque to rip open new potholes. What’s not to like? Unless they canceled the Mayhem Package – that was just fun to say.

    I haven’t owned a Mustang since my ’81 with the horrible 3.3L six succumbed to its second engine fire, so the fact that I’m even considering this one is a win for Ford.

  • avatar
    Zykotec

    The first Mustang was a cheap(ish) solution to sell more cars based on a popular compact platform, and to get attention from younger buyers with the different more sporty design.(secretary car anyone?) It got alot more popular than expected though, and soon grew completely out of it’s proportions, and into something else. The new ‘Mustang’ since the late 90’s would be the CUV’s. The RAV4 and CR-V did more or less exactly what the Mustang did in the mid-60’s, without the market going quite as crazy as in ’64. Except ‘secretaries’ today are probably 32 year old single moms…And there are no ‘Shelby’ versions…

    • 0 avatar
      Dan R

      The Mustang has always been a triumph of form over function.
      The early Falcon based models were adequate but adding those big V8s just was crazy. Scandalous that you get one with drum brakes up front. Even Shelby could hardly tame them.

      • 0 avatar
        3Deuce27

        ” Scandalous that you get one with drum brakes up front.”

        The Sting Ray had Drum brakes at all four corners for the first two years, and they had up to 375hp rated engines. It took a long time to bring one down from 150mph.

        Ford very quickly put disc brakes on the Mustang as an RPO and the GT.


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