By on December 28, 2021

Ford

Poking around ye olde Internet today, I came across this Motor1 piece that aggregates an interview that MuscleCarsandTrucks did. The interview is with Ford’s Mustang marketing manager, Jim Owens, and concerns, at least in part, the graying hairs of the average Mustang buyer and how Ford can get younger folks behind the wheel of the venerable pony car.

Owens seems to believe that younger buyers want an ownership experience that is more experiential — think autocross instead of showing one’s car at Cars and Coffee. I suspect there may be other factors at play, t00. For example, the Mustang made its bones as an affordable sports car, but a well-equipped GT costs well over $40K these days, and it doesn’t take many clicks on the build and price tool to turn an affordable EcoBoost coupe into one that costs over $35K, especially if you want the high-performance engine and/or certain creature comforts.

The interview also mentions that Ford has created Mustang clubs for Millennial-aged buyers.

So, what strategy, or combination thereof, will help bring the average age of Mustang buyers down? Lower prices, outreach to buyers in the Millennial and younger age group (the oldest Millennials are in their early 40s now), or more experiences at events that go beyond showing off a parked car? What other ideas are missing?

[Image: Ford]

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118 Comments on “QOTD: How Can Ford Attract Younger Mustang Buyers?...”


  • avatar
    maestromario

    “ How Can Ford Attract Younger Mustang Buyers? “ Offer a choice of lower priced base models and increase usefulness a little bit for everyday use, so it’s practical enough to be their only car.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      This.

    • 0 avatar
      slavuta

      Delete: huge wheels, sunroof, anything LED, all the nannies, automatic climate control, navigation, keyless entry, power seats. I just cut down $7K

      • 0 avatar
        SC5door

        You realize that Mustang’s don’t have sunroofs (can’t get one at any price), huge wheels, auto climate control and navigation as standard?

        • 0 avatar
          slavuta

          No sunroof? Too bad. Lets delete the wing. Anyway, you get the idea. Instead of selling “as much as we can jam into $35,000”, lets lower that to $25K and ruthlessly delete all the features

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          “You realize that Mustang’s don’t have sunroofs”

          Wait, really?

        • 0 avatar
          ajla

          This is a good point. The Mustang starts at $27K and the GT starts at $37K. That isn’t part-time at Jack in the Box money, but it isn’t rarefied numbers either. And, as you pointed out, the base Mustang is largely devoid of frippery.

          However, very few people go for those base cars. Plus, if you believe many on the internet you might as well be buying a Tempo if your Mustang lacks the Performance Package, Magneride, active exhaust, ambient lighting, and other big ticket options.

          A Mustang isn’t really that expensive but a loaded-a$$ press car Mustang is expensive.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            Just yesterday my mother commented about a 50yo or so neighbor getting a new job at $18/hour and it being “good” since it was up from $12. Kiddos without rich parents and/or free room and board aren’t buying $30K otd cars. Payments alone on $30K @ 3.9%/60mos are $551, even .9% which may be offered on certain models and credit ratings only drops it to $512. *I* was irritated at going over $300 on a new car payment in 2018 and I can easily afford the $500 (refi’d loan, dropped to $260ish for three or four more years).

          • 0 avatar
            AK

            Pre-covid, base Ecoboost Mustangs with a 6 speed could be had for $22k at the end of the year. They were/are affordable.

            Price wasn’t the issue.

          • 0 avatar
            Michael500

            That’s not the main problem, Mustang sales went down when they put a 2.3L Pinto engine in it. No one buys a pony car with a 4 cyl that sounds like a wounded animal. Camaro made the same mistake. Meanwhile, the Challenger is selling just fine with its Pentastar V6.

    • 0 avatar
      Lorenzo

      Yep, offer a base model at a lower price – like Ford did in 1965. The base two-door hardtop Falcon Futura sold for the equivalent of $20k (today’s $), and the base Mustang hardtop sold for just under $22K. Of course, both were five passenger cars with the same drivetrain, just different sheet metal.

      Not everyone who bought a Mustang wanted the muscle, just the looks. Ford’s people in charge need to re-learn the difference between sporty and musclecar. The former spans several demographics, while the latter has limited appeal.

    • 0 avatar
      bart10

      Ford might consider offering a “Grande” model as in decades past.
      Likely younger buyers will own one car. All the go faster bits the mustang currently prioritizes can become tiresome for a daily driver.
      Upgrade the interior, offer many more interior color options, and most importantly add significant interior sound reduction. Keep the multi stage exhaust but quiet the car inside substantially.

  • avatar
    dal20402

    The big coupe is dying. Y’all will hate me for saying it, but Ford did exactly what they needed to do to keep the Mustang brand relevant for younger buyers by using it for the Mach E.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      Maybe I’m off on the footprint vs the past, but I never saw this as a “big coupe”. I could see that in Challenger, but not Mustang or the current Camaro.

      On Mach E, I’ll reserve judgement until the January numbers come out in February. After a summer lull it did come back a bit but still had a lackluster year in USDM. One month of Model Y likely outsold its whole year.

      • 0 avatar
        dal20402

        The Mustang is 189″ long. That’s a huge car in the context of the global market and reasonably big even in the Super Size Me States of America. The Challenger is almost a foot longer still, but that just makes it “huge.”

        The point is less about the Mach E specifically and more about transitioning the name to a body style that will exist in the future.

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          I’d say unless its projected to significantly decline in USDM it would be wise to refresh it and ignore global trends on that model. I say this because Challenger is on its way out and GM is dropping the Camaro in 2024. Mustang would become the entire pony car/coupe market by 2025, why mess with a good thing?

          I’m sure they will try it but I wouldn’t. They really should create something new and unique instead of repurposing an existing model name which represents the polar opposite.

        • 0 avatar
          Lou_BC

          @dal20402
          The original Mustang was 181.6 inches long.

          Ford needs to offer a normally aspirated engine. I’d say inline 6 but since that means R&D pull the 3.3 V6 engine and transmission out of the F150. Put basic “steelies” on it. Design it so it’s easy to modify.

          • 0 avatar
            multicam

            Lou, they did. The 3.7L V6 was N/A and a terrific engine- over 300 hp. I had a 2012 V6 performance package with the manual transmission (Barton short shifter installed- awesome- and I sold it before the MT82 issues showed up). It really was a fun car. And I bought it when I was 23 years old, so I guess that kind of proves your point.

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            I’d be curious to know the difference, in both cost to build and weight, between the current 2.3L EcoBoost Mustang and one powered by the 3.3L mild hybrid powertrain from the Explorer Hybrid.

          • 0 avatar
            Lou_BC

            @multicam – they did at one time then discontinued it. Not everyone wants a turbo engine and the base V6 has power to best many 1960’s engines.

    • 0 avatar
      la834

      The small coupe is dying too.

  • avatar
    Steve Biro

    I’m not sure Ford really can attract a lot of young people to the Mustang – only modest numbers at the margins. The problem is, the Mustang is the wrong vehicle for today – except mostly as a nostalgia play.

    In a way, the Mustang was a kind of Honda Civic Si for its time. Something more like that is needed today. But it won’t happen. The next step for automakers is electric. So the Mustang will be around for a few more years. But I expect the model to reach the end of its natural life by the end of this decade.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      “The next step for automakers is electric.”

      Well the ones who want to be bankrupt.

      • 0 avatar
        Turbo Is Black Magic

        Overreaching governments have all but assured the death of the internal combustion engine for general population use. The free market has been overruled, the only question that remains is when will the date of death be.

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          Nice euphemism, sounds so much better than “technocratic dictatorships”.

          I wouldn’t rule out the so called “free market” just yet, some of these sycophants may expire before the ICE.

        • 0 avatar
          Ol Shel

          The ‘Free Market’ has destroyed our climate and will cost us dearly for hundreds of years. You got discounted pollution, and the real bill is starting to come due. Get ready to pay for man’s (your) stupidity.

      • 0 avatar
        Luke42

        > Well the ones who want to be bankrupt.

        Speaking for myself, the only vehicles I’ll be buying-by-choice are EVs. Any company that wants *my* business will sell me an EV.

        Yeahyeahyeah, I hear your all’s change-anger — but, seriously, take an EV for a test drive and see how nicely they drive. Every time my hybrid starts the gas engine, I wonder why that big buzzy gas guzzler is under the hood.

        The Mach-E seems like a pretty competent EV. It’s much more attractive to me than the traditional Mustang.

        • 0 avatar
          ajla

          I’ve test driven plug-in vehicles (Model 3 RWD, Leaf, Bolt, 330e.) They certainly have their charms, and if that’s what is mostly available in the future then I won’t have an issue owning one. However the experience driving an EV didn’t *at all* ruin ICE vehicles for me the way some EV fans claim it would.

          “The Mach-E seems like a pretty competent EV. It’s much more attractive to me than the traditional Mustang.”

          It’s your money but if you want a Mustang coupe or convertible then it’s likely there will be an EV version in the next generation. If you want a utility EV then there will almost certainly be much better ones than the Mach-E available in the next 24 months.

    • 0 avatar
      Luke42

      The Mach-E seems like a Ford Civic Si to me.

      No, it’s not a traditional Mustang. But I wasn’t going to buy a traditional Mustang anyway. I could see owning a Mach-E, though I will be cross shopping it with Tesla.

    • 0 avatar
      DungBeetle62

      Exactly, the Jessica Rabbit version of a 50-year-old car is not the path to the Youth Market. Especially when, as shown in the recent weepy Chevy commercial, there’s such romance for Genuine Article 50-year-old cars.

      The Civic Si reference is a good one. Ford’s essential abandonment of that entire area of the market is no help, particularly if “all trucks and trucky things all the time” no longer plays.

  • avatar
    ajla

    If the battery revolution happens then Ford should theoretically be able to sell a Mustang with GT500 acceleration for Ecoboost Premium prices.

    I also do think a real Mustang utility vehicle could work. However it needs to be more in the vein of the Genesis GV70 (as in actually based on the Mustang coupe beyond the badge and taillight design).

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      “I also do think a real Mustang utility vehicle could work. However it needs to be more in the vein of the Genesis GV70”

      Please come with us for reeducation, sir.

    • 0 avatar
      mcs

      “If the battery revolution happens ”

      It happened. It’s just a matter of getting them into mass production. Nio just announced a 600-mile range car. Much better than an ICE Shelby Mustang that only has a 224-mile range. Telsa’s 4680 cells are on the way. A Model Y bodyshell was photographed outside the AUstin plant that was missing its floor indicating it’s a 4680 structural pack car.

      • 0 avatar
        ajla

        “It happened. It’s just a matter of getting them into mass production.”

        So buying an i4 probably not a good idea then?

        • 0 avatar
          Astigmatism

          At least if you buy an i4 you wouldn’t have to look at the front of it while you’re driving.

        • 0 avatar
          mcs

          @ajila: Personally, I’m trying to hold off as long as I can for my next 4-wheeled EV. Not sure how long I can wait though. I think another year and a half will be good. I really like the Polestar 5 and that might be my first choice. With Austin and Berlin in action at that point, Tesla might see their waiting lists shrink to zero and if they are getting costs reductions with the 4680 production, we might see a price cut from them. Hopefully, better build quality from the new plants. The other thing that might happen is with the government subsidy on the Bolt, it might suppress the used Bolt market and maybe I could get one dirt cheap. I’m probably going to pick up an ADV motorcycle for the long trips, so range won’t be a problem. Once the next gen battery tech is available, then spring for the expensive new EV. At least that’s the plan at the moment.

          As for the i4, I’m surprised there isn’t an aftermarket nosejob bumper cover yet. I’m sure someone will make one.

          • 0 avatar
            ajla

            I don’t mind the i4’s styling and it’s really the only EV sports sedan(hatch) in my price range without Tesla’s design foibles, but buying the equivalent of the Phillips CD-i is a concern.
            Assuming BMW doesn’t offer major incentives for the i4 in 2022-2023 I’ll probably stick with an ICE for my next car and by the time I’m done with that all the fancy batteries should be out.

          • 0 avatar
            mcs

            @ajila: That sounds like a good plan. Actually, I’m kind of getting used to the i4 looks myself. Also, Tesla is beginning to install CCS ports at their US superchargers, so the i4 should be able to use the supercharger network soon.

            My big problem with Tesla is mostly their treatment of independent shops. I don’t want to depend on Tesla for repairs. There are independent shops near me, but they have a tough time because of Tesla’s lack of support. The shops are still able to get by though. For example, rather than replace an entire battery, the independents can replace just the failed cells for a fraction of the cost. I think the new battery tech will be good, but I want a backup plan just in case.

    • 0 avatar
      NigelShiftright

      Where is the generating capacity to charge all those revolutionary batteries?

      • 0 avatar
        dukeisduke

        I’m a member of an FB group called Motorology, and one of the admins there, a Tesla owner named Bill McGuire recently posted about a Forbes article claiming that worries about grid capacity in the US are BS. I think it would make a good article here.

        The link:

        https://www.forbes.com/sites/jamesmorris/2021/11/13/electricity-grids-can-handle-electric-vehicles-easily–they-just-need-proper-management/?

  • avatar
    ToolGuy

    How Can Ford Attract Younger Mustang Buyers?

    Lower the roofline.

  • avatar
    thegamper

    I feel like the Mustang has everything it needs to appeal to young enthusiasts. RWD layout, available manual, “lower” price of admission, a good aftermarket. The only thing it doesn’t have is a name that resonates with younger generations. It is relatively big and heavy if you are comparing it to a BRZ, Civic hatch or something that the youngsters gravitate towards. A diet and lower price may help, but Ford wont be able to shake the history and the 50-70 something crowd that comprises the bulk of the Mustang fanbase. Going electric was the right move. The next move could be an inexpensive Mustang E-Bullit something along the lines of a Tesla Roadster with 2+2 seating.

    • 0 avatar
      Luke42

      Is it working?

    • 0 avatar
      Luke42

      It seems to me that everyone who wants (and can afford) a traditional Mustang already has one.

      Would tweaking the recipe slightly get more people to buy them?

      The traditional Mustang was always an “other people do that” car for me. The Civic Si is something I’d consider owning, as is the Mach-E.

      But then again, I’m a 40-something dad who’s career has been going well lately. I’m clearly not the target market for the traditional Mustang, because neither the crappy back seat nor the V6/V8 are a good fit for me — even though I have the buying power for a Mustang.

  • avatar
    randy in rocklin

    That 69 Mach I is one of my favs, besides the Boss 302. I think 69 was the best year for the Mustang and Camaro Z28.

  • avatar
    jmo

    A marketing campaign that says SUVs are old person/soccer mom vehicles and sports cars are not. Style’s will change – better to get ahead of it. And yes 95% of SUV buyers are buying one because it’s in style. If personal luxury coupes were in style, they’d buy those.

    • 0 avatar
      Luke42

      I doubt marketing campaigns can change our culture anymore.

      Back when everyone watched TV, they sorta could, I guess. Cable TV will die with the boomers, and the rest of us use adblockers.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        “Cable TV will die with the boomers, and the rest of us use adblockers.”

        They will turn the TV apps into the equivalent of cable channels and ram their ad lies down our throats. The cheap Hulu package already does this and Amazon is always showing me stuff that is “free with ads”. I’m not up on the Android, iOS, or TV operating systems but I’m pretty sure they are designed so the owner doesn’t have true control to install things like ad blockers for the various apps. Maybe you have more insight into this?

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    This question applies to every car at every mfr. Rising prices means only gray hairs can afford them.

    Want to attract younger buyers to the Mustang? Give them 10% of MSRP toward their student loans.

    • 0 avatar
      SPPPP

      It’s not just rising prices, it’s rising prices combined with nearly stagnant wages. Meanwhile, the cost of housing, education, health care, and insurance of all kinds grows even faster, taking cash away from the transportation budget.

      It was once suggested “what was good for our country was good for General Motors, and vice versa.” I think it would apply equally well to Ford today as it did to GM in the 1950s.

      Carrying the idea forward, I would say, if young people felt themselves economically secure, they might spend more money on sporty cars. If they feel themselves desperately clinging to a middle-class standard of living, they’re not likely to buy anything with a hint of frivolity.

      https://www.forbes.com/sites/gautammukunda/2020/06/05/whats-good-for-gm-is-good-for-americawhat-should-you-do-during-a-national-crisis/?sh=79f9630f6d3b

      • 0 avatar
        golden2husky

        …It’s not just rising prices, it’s rising prices combined with nearly stagnant wages…

        This. As wage inequality continues to put most of the money in the hands of the very few, the ranks of people working their butt off just to stay afloat are not going to be in a position to buy anything new. Or much else for that matter.

        • 0 avatar
          DungBeetle62

          And Ford knows this, having all but abandoned the lower end of the market. Fiesta, Focus, EcoSport. Gone.

          “Let’s show you something on our pre-owned lot”

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            Just a quick sidebar on those models, they all sucked and that’s why they were discontinued. Fusion kept going till MY20 and I think the reason it was dropped because they did not want to invest in a platform refresh/update though I may be wrong.

  • avatar
    JMII

    The young people I know don’t want to drive, they rather play video games, watch TikTok and YouTube while their parents drag them around. They interact with their friends via Facepage and Picturegram so the whole idea of driving some place just to hang out is for us olds. Based on how my two teenage nieces act Ford should fill the vehicle with screens and cameras with a full on Karaoke system.

    Manual, two door and RWD are turn offs these days so the whole concept of the Mustang is a no-sale. Plus it doesn’t come in Rose Gold or whatever the new hotness trend in color is.

  • avatar
    05lgt

    The answer is the same now as it ever was, Ford is just in no position to do it. The formula is: add performance and style to an inexpensive EXISTING development and production cost amortized platform. See WRX, Civic type-R, GTI etc. Ford doesn’t make passenger cars. The Mustang is their Corvette, own the demo you live in. If they hot up an EcoSport they are just fighting an unwinnable situation, the platform has … issues.

    • 0 avatar
      dwford

      Ford did that with the Fiesta ST and Focus ST. They even were reasonably priced. But if Ford is losing too much money on the basic car, they can’t afford to keep the performance models either. How long to do you think the Hyundai Veloster N will stick around now that Hyundai doesn’t sell any regular Velosters” Subaru and VW can do this because they make money on the Impreza and Golf.

    • 0 avatar
      Astigmatism

      Three words: Ford Maverick Raptor.

    • 0 avatar
      Lou_BC

      “The formula is: add performance and style to an inexpensive EXISTING development and production cost amortized platform”

      Basically you saying that Ford needs to make a cheap kick azz regular cab short box performance pickup or 5.0 the Ranger. Done!

  • avatar
    dwford

    How about less torque and more revs? Instead of a 2.3T lump, how about an 8000rpm 4 cylinder? Everyone loves that the Voodoo V8 revs to 8250rpms and the Coyote V8 revs to 7500. Why not apply the same formula to a 4 cylinder Mustang?

  • avatar
    tsarcasm

    Want to sell Mustang GT’s to young people? Bring back fair pay in factory jobs. Our service economy does not provide enough income to buy a $45,000 Mustang for 20 somethings. Unlike all my uncles and dad who bought new corvettes, GTX, Camaro’s in the 60’s-70’s all while supporting a family and wife. It’s called the american dream because you’d have to be asleep to believe it.

  • avatar
    Turbo Is Black Magic

    Well, seeing how the two most popular cars by a wide margin for both Gen Z and millennials and both cheap sedans (Accord & Civic), since Ford doesn’t even compete in this space anymore…. maybe rename the Maverick “Mustang Mach T” and profit?

  • avatar
    millerluke

    Add a usable backseat and cargo-carrying capacity. Basically, take the Mach E, and put an ICE in it. Keep it RWD, several different V6s or 8s, keep the price reasonable.

    Or give it up, expect younger people will go to cheaper, more ‘mainstream’ options, and understand there’s a limited market for a RWD sporty coupe.

  • avatar
    Mustangfast

    I guess as a millennial who owns a Mustang I am an endangered species?! I would actually say pricing is pretty spot on where it needs to be, the cars are a relative bargain but I would market the EB not as the base but as the “handling” Mustang and the GT as the “power” Mustang. There seems to be this idea that if its not a GT you shouldn’t bother, forgetting the base car has over 300 hp and can get nearly 30 mpg fuel economy. Maybe make the tech like CarPlay standard across even base models and throw in some activex seats. When it comes to a new model I think that’s where things get interesting because they would need to redefine what a Mustang is. A bigger usable backseat, bigger trunk or AWD could help. I think the MME is actually a really good play since that can be the practical one and a coupe remains the sports car one. I think something that can’t be overcome is a decline in car culture, with so many teens not even interested in driving and some adults going to one or no cars per household. Add in some “anti American brand” bias along with environmentalism and you have strong headwinds. I think what they did bringing the S550 out was exactly what was needed and wanted, so they should look at what made it successful as well as what opportunities having the Mach e under the brand does.

    • 0 avatar
      ToolGuy

      Horsepower, curb weight and fuel economy of the EcoBoost® Mustang are very comparable to my Old Man I Hate Life 2005 Avalon. Ye olde Avalon has a very usable back seat [reclining rear seats!] and a nice large trunk.

      To attract younger buyers, you want Ford Motor Company to turn the Mustang into my old man car? (Your Plan might have some flaws.)

  • avatar
    eggsalad

    If you can only afford one car, it needs to have a modicum of practicality. There’s a reason the hatchback outsold the notchback in the Fox-body generation.

    Cut out the rear bulkhead, and make a hatch out of the current generation, and more people will buy them.

    And don’t tell me about the reduced body stiffness. No one will care.

  • avatar
    Ol Shel

    Make it cube-shaped with a smiley face, autonomous, and have it deliver packages to your door… if you want young folks to love it.

  • avatar
    downunder

    By not lying in their advertising material?
    https://www.carexpert.com.au/car-news/ford-mustang-mach-1-accc-penalises-ford-for-brochure-errors

  • avatar
    BSttac

    This last year I was shopping a new manual Mustang GT. I ended up getting a Challenger Scat Pack manual. The reasons were many but the large one is price and that awful, cheap Getrag 6 speed manual. Mustang GT with PP1 pack is insanely expensive and dealers would not budge under msrp. There is also the fact that everything Ford makes feels low quality. The materials used somehow always feel/look cheaper than the competition. Just feels like too many corners were cut and yet the selling price is the highest of its competitors. Ditch the Getrag garbage for the Tremec unit for all Mustang models/trims as well.

  • avatar
    DenverMike

    It’s a silly question. OK, stupid. How about make them not suck? Then it won’t matter who’s not buying because you can’t print them fast enough.

    Young, old, male, female, secretary, high school, whatever are basically looking for the same, but the last Mustang to sell off the charts was the first year Fox platform, around 370K, not counting the Mercury variant.

    And who exactly was buying it? Who the hell cares? Just compare the size. It’s mind blowing seeing a new Mustang parked next to a Fox Mustang. Yikes.

    It wasn’t exactly god’s gift, nor cheap, but you could buy it basically ala carte. Biggest engine, biggest wheels with crank windows and radio delete? Just sign right here.

    I’m sure most of the Ghia, pace cars, turbos, Cobras, etc, were impulse buys.

  • avatar
    AK

    Make the next Mustang more like the BRZ/GR86.

    Smaller, lighter, less OLD feeling and looking. Abandon any retro vibe.

    I’m 37 and just bought a BRZ. I had ZERO interest in a Mustang despite an Ecoboost Mustang being a direct competitor to the BRZ. The Mustang just feels like it caters to old guys. It’s soft, floaty and boring until you option one up to $45k.

    OR, and this would be much easier- give it a more compelling base engine/transmission. Ditch the Getrag and base 2.3. Make the Hi-Performance Ecoboost with a Tremec the base set up. That would have at least gotten me in for a test drive.

  • avatar
    kosmo

    Build a sport back or — gasp — wagon version and I’ll buy a GT tomorrow.

    Wait a second, I’m not young.

    N/M!

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    I don’t think you can convince young guys to buy Mustangs because my perception is that they’re all driving or aspiring to trucks and off road vehicles. The same guy who was buying a Trans Am as an “I’m a single guy, please sleep with me” codpiece in the ’70s or ’80s is buying a Wrangler or pickup truck today. Meanwhile, young women are ALL about crossovers. That’s what’s in fashion right now.

    Could Ford change the “fashion conversation,” so to speak? Sure. But that takes time and money. Meanwhile, what’s the profit margin on the F150s and Bronco Sports they are currently selling to younger people, versus the Mustang they are trying to talk the younger guys into?

  • avatar

    In the olden days, the majority of Mustangs sold were base models, to young women. The current car is way too “masculine” to have that unisex appeal, and the focus has gone fun to muscle. That eliminates 50% of potential buyers, and of the ones that are left, too many don’t want to be seen in a “base” model Mustang. That, I think, is partly why the Mustang Mach-E is doing so well: it’s free from all that baggage.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      “The current car is way too “masculine” to have that unisex appeal, and the focus has gone fun to muscle.”

      Dude, what? A healthy amount of so called “unisex” styling is in fact feminine because the audience is females and post 1985 “men”. The base S-550 Mustang isn’t as aggressive or “masculine” as you may think, closer to a true unisex in terms of exterior styling.

    • 0 avatar
      Lou_BC

      People forget that the original Mustang was marketed as a “sporty” car. Advertising called it a “secretary’s car”.

  • avatar
    ToolGuy

    Mustang sales peaked in 1966. Herb Alpert & the Tijuana Brass had the top-selling album of 1966 (and two other number-one albums in 1966).

    My question is: How can Herb Alpert attract younger buyers in 2021?

  • avatar
    jkross22

    Five Point Oh means something to those of us who grew up in the 80’s, but we’re the people driving SUVs en masse for the kids.

    In 5-10 years when we don’t need SUVs, will the kids of the 80s be physically able to get into Mustangs? We’ll still want ’em. Maybe that was Ford’s play – get my gen to buy the MachE – still has the horse and name, but we can get into em easier.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    Ford is not going to successfully market the traditional 2 door Mustang to a younger generation who cannot afford a Mustang. The Maverick is a better vehicle to market to the youth in that it is an affordable compact pickup with good mpgs. Pickups and suvs are of more interest to most of the younger generation than a pony car especially with the utility and the cool factor. Mustangs are like Harleys with more appeal to aging baby boomers and those in their mid 40s to 50s. An small affordable EV might also be more appealing to younger generations.

  • avatar
    Michael500

    Ford is in denial and making the same mistakes that doomed the Camaro. They want $28-30K base for a 4 cyl car? Young people buy Civics if they want a 4-banger. The Challenger has a younger buyer that buys a pony car with a 6 cyl; which outsold the Mustang earlier this year one quarter. This isn’t brain surgery: give the Mustang a V6, and price it similar to the (2008!) Challenger. Otherwise the Mustang is doomed.

    • 0 avatar
      Astigmatism

      Correction: young people buy CR-Vs and RAV4s, and don’t even know what’s under the hood. Nobody’s trying to impress a girl by revving their engine in the parking lot. If they’re using a car to impress a girl at all, it’s by using it to carry a tent or a couple of mountain bikes up into the mountains to show how capable and outdoorsy they are.

  • avatar
    MitchConner

    Create a simple, fun, inexpensive to buy, and inexpensive to operate vehicle like the original.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    That is why I said the Maverick is a better vehicle to attract younger buyers than a Mustang because it can be used for outdoorsy things at an affordable price regardless if most of its buyers don’t do outdoorsy things–image of a truck brings a more rugged outdoorsy image. Old Rangers, S-10s, and Colorado/Canyons are popular vehicles among many young people and this is where the new Maverick hits the sweet spot being a more affordable new small truck for less than a new Civic. Maybe a more affordable basic Mustang would pick up some additional sales from the young but I doubt it would be enough additional sales to make a huge difference in Mustang sales. Newer smaller vehicles in truck or crossover form at affordable prices would attract younger buyers who are buying their first new vehicle whether in ICE or EV form. Engine size and horsepower are not going to sway most younger buyers but having connectivity to an IPhone or Smartphone will especially at a more affordable price starting in the low 20s. Offer as base power windows, power locks, power brakes, power steering, air conditioning, and auto which most new base vehicles offer but make sure the connectivity is good and easy to use. Offering a key integrated with the fob is enough don’t need push button start. As with the Maverick keep the price low and don’t offer too many options (even less than the Maverick). Some of us older folks would like the same and that is why many of the vehicles like the Maverick not only appeal to the young but the old as well. KISS (Keep It Simple Stupid).

  • avatar
    el scotto

    The young gentlemen who put food and alcoholic beverages in front of me seem much much more interested in Lexus IS’s and BMW 3 series. They use hair products too.

    AFAIK, Ford has one rear-wheel drive car platform left, the Mustang. he current Mustang has been filled with and coated with noise deadening material. Add in a backseat that is really only for wee children and a trunk that can only hold a case of beer and you have young people saying “Nope, Honda or Toyota new or a used Lexus/BMW, if I gotta buy a car.” Never mind the 100s of thousands of young people buying cheap CUVs.

    Billy Ford needs to channel the late Colin Chapman. Have the Mustang engineers think like Atkins/Nutrasystem/Jenny Craig, and Richard Simmons combined. Have the Mustang Team and Billy Ford drive a 67 Mustang convertible with a V-8. Make the lightness and road feel of the 67 their goal. Make a Mustang convertible that can hold four people comfortably AND fit a huge beer cooler in the trunk. Low back front bucket seats would be a good start.

    Some things would stay in the Mustang “Deuce”, named after Henry Ford II. Gotta tie that Ford heritage in. Synch stays, put down your hands; it’s too useful not to stay. Fort Worth meat locker in July air conditioning stays. Ford also needs to make cloth for seats that doesn’t get stained from the excess moisture from cans of Monster energy drinks.

    Some parts bin, cheaper to just keep making them that way parts will remain like power windows and power locks. Same, same for HVAC. The Mustang guys need to give the Truck guys a couple of dozen doughnuts and just teal a heated steering wheel. Make it a $99.95. option and no weight adding “Luxury Package” on the Deuce.

    Have a V-8 Deuce convertible priced similar to a Maverick Lariat. At 1st it might seem like two different market but not really. Have both priced for someone spend $35K on a new vehicle. Either will take four people to the beach, you just have to decide how big you want your trunk to be.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    More stringent CAFE and EPA standards are making V8s become extinct. The few new vehicles offering V8s have become extremely expensive. Much easier for Ford and GM to offer turbo 3s and 4s to game the ever more stringent standards. The Mustang’s standard Ecoboost I4 is more about gaming the system even though the older non turbo V6 engine has better longevity and does not have that much less mpgs. Harder to become a car enthusiasts when most vehicles are expensive and many lack the wow factor. We will never see the likes of a newer version of the 67 Mustang due to stricter regulations and increased costs. Still harder for many young people starting out to afford a new vehicle or a new house especially when there are less new affordable homes due to increase costs and zoning ordinances that limit the types of homes that can be built. This is true with vehicles as well. A smaller affordable EV or ICE vehicle with less features is the only answer to get those young starting out to buy new.

  • avatar
    Lightspeed

    How do yo get younger people into a Mustang? You don’t. What you do is build the far simpler car many have proposed with a hatchback body and call it the “Capri”

  • avatar
    DenverMike

    The great assumption is automakers know exactly what they’re doing, but the reality is industry executives have their head up their A$$ at least half the time or on half of the decisions or calls.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    Auto executives have no idea of how the average person lives nor do most of them care.

    • 0 avatar
      ToolGuy

      @DenverMike, industry executives (unlike automotive journalists doing Keystroke Product Planning™) make decisions in the Real World where there are things like Constraints. Sometimes there are very valid reasons for what look like stupid decisions. Also, industry executives (just like automotive journalists) have Bosses and sometimes the Boss wants to go in a different direction. [Sometimes the Boss has very valid reasons which the Boss can’t share – and after all the Boss has other Bosses.]

      @Jeff S, some auto executives (depending on the level) used to BE closer to ‘average’ – but not many and the ‘average’ impulses generally need to be suppressed to Get Ahead. The typical auto executive has very limited interaction with any customers, and the ones they do talk with tend to skew toward the very tippy-top of that company’s customers.

      [@Jeff S, if you will hit the ‘REPLY’ button to the right under a specific comment (instead of the general ‘Leave a Reply’ box), people will see your comments in context and some of the people you will reply to will get a notification that you replied. Your choice of course.]

      • 0 avatar
        Jeff S

        Agree most of us besides auto executives have to suppress some of our impulses even if those impulses are ones that could improve the business where you work making the business more efficient. Knowing when to share those ideas is the tricky part and many times you are not allowed to. This is a major problem with most major corporations in that many of those in charge are far removed from the actual product and those that are under them are afraid of the consequences of sharing ideas and information. If your boss tells you to do something you have to follow orders as long as its not illegal.

      • 0 avatar
        DenverMike

        Dealers should have more involvement since the shot callers are far removed from end users, their desires, frustrations, angers or just plain ambivalence. Stockholders should be much less involved.

  • avatar
    Superdessucke

    Late to this party but is this demographic observation a harbinger to a collapse in value of ’60s and early ’70s muscle cars? Those also predominantly appeal to older white men, mostly Boomers. I do not know if anyone’s been watching but those are selling for crazy prices now. Six figures for some, and the car doesn’t have to be particularly special to reach that point (like a Boss 429, Hemi, LS6, and so on).

    My theory has long been this won’t hold as they leave driving age behind and, ultimately, this mortal coil. So who buys them then?

    As to the question of the article, the ship may have sailed on that. I don’t know the formal demographics but today’s Dodge muscle cars seem to bring in at least some younger drivers. But in general, younger buyers haven’t gravitated towards V-8 muscle. Younger enthusiasts grew up coveting Japanese and European iron starting in the 1980s.

    Again, speaking in generalities. There are always exceptions, before anyone chimes in that their young son Todd who is 14 is restoring the ’69 Camaro they found in a field.

  • avatar
    jdmcomp

    How about a liftback so you can actually haul an object larger then a grocery bag. After all the back seat is worthless and should be folded down for more load space.

  • avatar
    wjtinfwb

    Easy… bring back a de-contented base coupe, V6, manual trans., decent wheels and the 8″ monitor in the base interior. Offering some interior colors other than black, perhaps a fun plaid or hounds tooth cloth. Bring it in at an MSRP under 25k and suddenly a Civic or Sentra is a helluva lot less appealing.

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