By on May 25, 2017

2016 Ford Mustang GT

The Ford Mustang, a nameplate actually deserving of the word “iconic,” is no less vulnerable to the whims of the market than any other model. As domestic light vehicle demand in North America cools off, so have Mustang sales.

Fortunately for Ford, the automaker took it upon itself to fling Mustangs to every corner of the world for its most recent generation, and buyers in 140 countries are now able to take delivery of the original pony car. That volume, while not America-like, has bolstered sales.

In the U.S., 2017 haven’t yet seen a month where Mustang sales surpassed that of the previous year. In 2016, the 105,916 domestically sold Mustangs represented a climb-down from the year before, when over 122,000 units left the lot. A slip, but still better than the remainder of the post-recession era.

The Chevrolet Camaro topped Mustang in U.S. sales last month, eking out a slim 674-unit lead in April.

Because the model went global in early 2015, domestic sales don’t tell the whole story. Europe and China represent the largest overseas demand for Mustang, and the greatest potential for sales growth. According to IHS Markit data, European customers bought 15,335 Mustangs in 2016, the model’s first full year of sales. Another 5,300 were sold in the first four months of this year.

In a region where customers face punitive taxes on anything remotely considered a gas guzzler — and where diesel power is still a going concern — Mustang has become the best-selling “sports car” in nine countries: France, Sweden, Poland, Czech Republic, Hungary, Romania, Finland, Greece and the U.K.

It remains to be seen whether Ford can keep up its European sales growth, or whether the dismal score awarded to the model after Euro NCAP crash tests (two out of five stars) prompts buyers to look elsewhere. Year-to-date sales in the region are trailing 2016 figures by 800 units. The April shortfall amounts to 300 units.

In China, Ford remains locked in battle with rival General Motors, mainly via both companies’ popular crossovers, SUVs and luxury sedans. While Mustang sales rose 74 percent in 2016, headwinds exist. In addition to the steep price markup in the Chinese market (a 5.o-liter model costs about the equivalent of $100,000), GM will launch its Camaro this year in the People’s Republic.

[Source: Wards Auto] [Image: Ford Motor Company]

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40 Comments on “Overseas Demand Boosts Ford Mustang as Domestic Sales Wane...”

  • avatar

    Is the ‘stang manufactured anywhere else outside of the USA?

  • avatar
    SD 328I

    That negative safety score had more to do with stuff the Mustang didn’t have, like crash avoidance than an actual structural problem.

    • 0 avatar

      Nevertheless, it scored poorly.

      In addition to the lack of safety aids, here is a brief explanation of the poor score:

      “Adult occupant safety was rated at a mediocre 72 percent, while child occupant safety received a 32 percent rating. The list of flaws was numerous. The Mustang’s front airbags didn’t inflate enough in a front offset collision to spare the driver and front passenger from injuries. Adult rear seat passenger safety was rated “poor” in full-width frontal impacts, thanks to a lack of seatbelt pre-tensioners. Also, children seated in the back stand to receive serious head injuries in the event of a side impact.”

      • 0 avatar

        …and I doubt any of this makes any difference to Mustang buyers.

        But I don’t see how the Mustang scored badly in testing at all.

        • 0 avatar

          The Mustang scored poorly in Euro NCAP testing. A good IIHS rating doesn’t necessarily translate across the pond.

          Pluck a highly-ranked car from NCAP and give it to IIHS, and it may score poorly here.

          • 0 avatar

            Are the standards that different between NCAP and the IIHS/NHSTA tests?

          • 0 avatar

            I’d feel safer crashing a Euro Mustang than any current Porsche 911.

            A poor score doesn’t really matter (to buyers overseas), since there’s not anything else like the Mustang (unless they’re intent to crashing it).

            If there’s months or a year’s waiting list (and they’re paying top dollar [Euro, etc]), who really cares? By the time the Mustangs current appeal starts to level off (overseas), its safety issues will be corrected.

            Sports cars aren’t the “top safety” picks anyways (anywhere). And compared to typical Euro sports cars of a few years ago, Euro Mustangs are about the same in terms of safety.

        • 0 avatar

          The Euro test is not about occupant safety anymore. It is all about shaming the mfgs into making “advanced safety features” standard on base models and pedestrian safety. Doesn’t matter how well the vehicle protects the occupants, if the base model doesn’t have automatic braking, seat belt pre-tensioners in every position, lane keeping assistance ect it will loose a lot of points.

          • 0 avatar

            To be honest, there’s a good chance that it cost Ford more to leave these options out (have assembly lines that can deal with both cases) than to simply include it. This is probably what annoys the bejesus out of them.

      • 0 avatar
        George B

        What adults sit in the rear seat of a Mustang? The Mustang has vestigial rear seats because the 2+2 configuration tends to cost less to insure than a 2 seater car.

        • 0 avatar

          I have a hard time understanding why the Mustang is so damn big on the outside with its barely-adequate rear seats.

          • 0 avatar

            “I have a hard time understanding why the Mustang is so damn big on the outside with its barely-adequate rear seats.”

            Because heritage?

            Poor rear-seat packaging and use of space has been a pony car tradition since the early days of the concept.

          • 0 avatar

            long hood, long doors, no real consideration for rear seat room.

          • 0 avatar

            They could make it more space-efficient, but then it would have to be FWD. And use a 4-cylinder. And drum brakes. And 14″ wheels. So basically, they’re going to rebadge a Fiat 500. Or maybe it could still be RWD if they rebadge a Renault Twingo. You in?

          • 0 avatar

            @ carlismo

            bikegoesbaa and JimZ have it right. You don’t get that iconic shape and be space efficient.

            The fox cars were different in that regard since they were more upright and compact but ask most people (not this guy, I like a sharp looking fox car) and they don’t really care for the most in-Mustang like Mustang in the car’s history.

      • 0 avatar

        “The Mustang’s front airbags didn’t inflate enough in a front offset collision to spare the driver and front passenger from injuries.”

        The front offset test is with a deformable barrier to simulate an oncoming car. I faced that same situation in 2016 when a kid decided to take out my S550 Mustang. Granted the crash happened a little under the 64 kph they do in the test (was more in the neighborhood of 56 kph but that poor bastard in his 2007 Civic ended up in worse shape as they had to cut him from the car. I was sore as hell and the seat belt managed to dislocate a few bones (I suppose that is what NCAP is talking about). Not too bad all things considered.

        “Adult rear seat passenger safety was rated “poor” in full-width frontal impacts, thanks to a lack of seatbelt pre-tensioners. Also, children seated in the back stand to receive serious head injuries in the event of a side impact.”

        This seems like a space to live situation – just no room back there.

    • 0 avatar

      It did have structural problems

  • avatar

    While it will never happen, I wish Ford would build a 4 door sedan with this platform. ( or better yet, a station wagon – but that really will never happen.)

    • 0 avatar

      Back when I owned a 2006 Mustang GT, I couldn’t help but think how cool it would be to have a four door sedan with much of the same interior and exterior styling, and also powered by a V8.

      A wagon would have been even better.

    • 0 avatar

      Yep, Ford Falcon XR8, F6, sorry killed off in the name of “one car” :(

      • 0 avatar

        More power than a Mustang (with a factory supercharged version of its V8), four doors, decent back seat legroom, big boot, good handling, well built. What’s not to like?

        (Well, other than the fact that it was only ever made in right hand drive, never offered outside of the Australia/New Zealand market and is no longer in production…)

        • 0 avatar

          You can thank idiotic ” One Ford” for that.
          Ford US was not keen on having exports from Australia.
          Bit different when it comes to designing products for the wider Global market. I.E.
          Ford Ranger

        • 0 avatar

          Now you’ve got me wondering whether or not it was possible to use standalone options to equip a ’63-’65 Falcon sedan like a Falcon Sprint. The Sprint package only was available for hardtops and convertibles, but it wouldn’t shock me if you could have optioned the sedan to the same spec.

  • avatar

    Say what you want about Sweden but punitive taxes on gas guzzlers isn’t one of the many faults the country is saddled with. Was – prior to changing jobs and incurring a 60000 km/year commute – considering buying a Mustang. The msrp wasn’t that bad for a new car, no rebates or wiggle room though, but no modern safety features even though they’re available in the US was a bit of putting. The mayor upside for me was that if I bought a new one I could drive it for a year and basically sell it for mspr due to loooow allocations to Sweden.

    • 0 avatar

      What other European countries don’t tax or at least heavily tax larger sized engines?

      • 0 avatar

        Ze germans and the British doesn’t kill high power cars with taxes as far as I’m aware and I presume that some of the former com-block countries are fairly liberal. But this is far from my expertise.

        FYI a new mustang eco boost starts at 373000 sek/skr and a mustang GT starts at 419000 with the six pot brembos including sales tax (298 000/335 000 sek ex sales tax or around 34 000/ 38 500 usd)

    • 0 avatar

      Too not have those safery features in Europe is mindless.
      GM is as dumb as offering the low volume Corvette in only LHD

  • avatar

    Lots of Asian markets love the new Mustang. I was in Hong Kong a few weeks ago and the Ford dealers there are now selling Mustangs for the first time. The Wrangler also started selling there recently. They love the taste of ‘Murica, and this is a city that has traditionally celebrated JDM and Euro-luxe.

    The Mustang should also prove popular in China, a critical market now as the middle class can afford cars.

  • avatar

    Ford perfectly understood what GM seemed to have missed with the Camaro: make a decent, sporty and good-looking coupe (and not some pastiche of a former ponycar with bad visibility)… and Europeans will look passed the fact that it no longer packs a big V8. In the country that I reside, the V8 is twice as expensive (more than 100,000 euro) as the 2.3 liter turbo.

  • avatar

    The Mustang is selling in Oz because it is finally made in RHD and because Ford killed off the Falcon. Here in Queensland a V8 costs an extra $200 a year in registration even though my Mercedes V8 uses less fuel than either of my 6 cylinder cars.

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