Ford Mustang's new European look: A big mistake?
The Detroit auto giant is preparing to overhaul an American icon, even though many middle-aged fans may not be ready for an update.
Few things are more classically American than a Ford (F) Mustang, the Pony car that spawned dozens of imitators after it was launched in 1964.
Today's Mustang still bears a strong resemblance to the original, part of a years-long attempt by Ford to ride a retro trend that saw baby boomers buying Volkswagen (VLKAY) Beetles and Chevrolet (GM) Camaros. But all that is about to change, says Mike Ramsey at The Wall Street Journal.
Ford is planning a sleeker, more European look for its new Mustang in a bid to attract younger consumers who have less affection for muscle cars of yore. The new Mustang will reportedly launch in 2014 and will likely look like a Ford Fusion or the Evos model that was unveiled by Ford in late 2011.
Will the Mustang's new look backfire?
Ford might destroy an iconic brand. "This is a scary moment for Ford, and it really needs to tread carefully," says Justin Cupler at TopSpeed. The last time Ford tried to remake the Mustang -- the zippy Mustang II in the 1970s -- it "nearly killed off the Mustang name altogether." The Mustang is a "muscle car," and Ford would be wise not to stray too far with its makeover.
But the Mustang's style is getting old. The automotive world's retro trend may have "finally run its course," says Paul A. Eisenstein at MSNBC. Ford is facing "increasingly stringent fuel economy standards" in the U.S., and intense competition outside North America, necessitating not only a new look, but a new paradigm. "There are even rumors of a Mustang hybrid." Ford does risk "a tidal wave of opposition from traditionalists," but a younger generation might "be more accepting" of a toned-down Mustang.
And Ford has to move beyond baby boomers. The average Mustang buyer is 51 years old, and is considered a "near-luxury" consumer in "terms of spending habits," says Mike Ramsey at the Wall Street Journal. While baby boomers are "still an important demographic," fueling sales in minivans and SUVs, "that generation is near the end of its run as hard-charging car consumers." Ford and others face the difficult challenge of tapping into Generation Y -- those born in the 80s and 90s -- many of whom are less excited about owning cars than their parents.
One more thing. To prove the strength of the Mustang throughout the American car buying public:
The Mustang is the reason GM built the Camaro.
The Mustang is the reason GM stopped building the Camaro and...
The Mustang is the reason GM started building the Camaro once again.
That's called a "Yatzee" from where I come from!
As owners of a 2011 California GT Convertible ... we have the following thoughts..
Our 80 year old father inlaw drives the car like a bat out of hell! We are 50 !
Our 21 and 24 year old daughters drive the Mustang so we cant get any wheel time ourselves!
Ford needs listen carefully to folks who drive or ogle or ogal the Mustang! This is and always has been about a visceral GUT feeling.. push back in the seat.. Iconic wows across multiple generations. Sure expect refinement and enhancement updates / incorporation of new technology but a Mustang is a Mustang. Use common sense! If we wanted a Euro car we would have bought one. Driving a Mustang is like riding a Stallion full Throttle bareback! Once you do it you'll understand! Screw the marketing data. How about that for real demographics !!
Gentlemen and Women,
I am reading that most of you have agreed that if FORD changes the Mustang to another design other than the fastback or the Boss then it should be renamed! How true! This is too easy! How is it possible that the Executives Suits at Ford cannot understand this? The Ford Mustang is a iconic piece of American Car and Racing History! I have a 2009 GT here in Europe and it turns heads EVERYPLACE i go! and Europeans marvle at the pure power and look that it has! and nothing but great comments from them about the LOOK!
Wake up Ford Suits and dont blow a good thing!
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