Editor/Reporter - CheersandGears.com
April 13th, 2012
Without a shadow of doubt, Ford’s Mustang is a red-blooded, all-American icon. Since the 1960s, the stallion-badged pony car has won the acceptance of a large number of enthusiasts and normal buyers alike, its abundant presence dominating paved surfaces ranging from boulevards to drag strips. Love it or hate it, it was the Mustang that gave us other revered models like Chevrolet’s Camaro and Dodge’s Challenger, and inspired the European Ford Capri and Japan’s Toyota Celica. Facts are facts; the automotive world would certainly be a very dull place without it.
However, while it has traveled to countries outside of North America like the UK and Australia as a grey-market import, the Mustang was never designed with a global market in mind. For example, the Mustang as-is cannot be converted to right-hand drive from the factory in Flat Rock, Michigan and aftermarket companies who can make it happen usually charge expensive prices. It has always been a car built by We the People, for the People and the People alone. Well, no more. If rumors circulating over at Popular Hot Rodding prove to be correct, that’s about to change with the next-generation Mustang, due for 2015.
According to PHR, the next-generation Mustang will be engineered with the ability to be reconfigured for right-hand drive markets, such as the UK. In fact, word has it that Ford will aggressively export the Mustang to Europe, Australia, and even Japan, and dealers in Europe are already being told to expect the Mustang as a regular model in showrooms. That means, for the first time, overseas buyers can drive a brand-new Mustang away from a lot and not have to worry about a dealer refusing to service and support the car. It’s also worth noting that Ford Europe development boss Barb Samardzich recently spoke to German automotive site Auto-Mototr-und-Sport, and was quoted as saying the next Mustang is being developed as a part of Ford’s global “One Ford” plan, meaning that the Blue-Oval pony car would meet European pedestrian safety standards.
Other than the buzz about the Mustang’s future global pedigree, additional rumors include that the sixth-generation model will likely shed weight, shrink in size, and ride on a new global rear-drive platform. It remains to be seen if that means additional rear-drive models will be built for the American market. The fact the car will ride on a new global platform will mean that the Mustang will probably join its Chevy and Dodge rivals and finally adapt to an independent rear suspension. And although the 5.0L “Coyote” V8 will remain under the hood, a hybrid powertrain may be the cards.
Recent Mustangs have been styled to be modern throwbacks to the days of the vintage models from the ‘60s and ‘70s. Although the retro approach to design has been met with near unanimous approval, the next-gen car will have a fixed gaze on the future. According to PHR, Ford’s goal is to take the Mustang’s styling into the future while keeping it familiar, so that means traditional elements like the three-section taillights and scooped lower body lines will remain.
We’ll find out how much of the rumors prove to be true when the next-generation Mustang debuts in 2014, in time for its 50th anniversary.