As it will get able to have a good time the 60th anniversary of the legendary “pony car,” Ford Motor Co. is launching the seventh-generation Mustang. Whether it actually is an “all-new” makeover is perhaps a matter of debate however there’s little doubt that each the 2024 Mustang EcoBoost and 2024 Mustang GT are already profitable rave critiques.
Ford likes to boast that the long-lasting mannequin is the world’s “bestselling sports car.” And there’s additionally little doubt that it’s a survivor in a usually shrinking market. Archrival Chevrolet is about to finish manufacturing of the Camaro — once more — whereas Dodge will quickly ship its Charger and Challenger fashions driving off into the sundown.
But there are many causes to marvel concerning the future. This 12 months, for the primary time, Ford’s all-electric Mustang Mach-E SUV will outsell the basic, gas-powered Mustang coupe. And Dodge is on the point of return with an all-electric Charger Daytona subsequent 12 months. Between EVs and SUVs, many observers query what kind of future there’s for a pony automotive just like the Ford Mustang.
TheDetroitBureau.com turned to Jim Owens, the Mustang model supervisor, to get his tackle the brand new mannequin, the altering automotive setting and what we’d anticipate sooner or later. (This interview has been edited for brevity and readability.)
TheDetroitBureau: You’ve been concerned with Mustang for fairly a while.
Jim Owens: I’ve labored within the business for 37 years, 33 with Ford, and 4 with Carroll Shelby earlier than he handed away. I began on the efficiency facet in 2000 and have spent the final 23 years predominantly with Mustang, the fourth, fifth, sixth and now seventh-generation.
TDB: So, how vital is the Mustang? After all, its gross sales are only a fraction of what we see with another Ford merchandise.
Owens: It’s not only a product. It’s a model, one in every of our strongest. We are the longest-running sports activities automotive nameplate. And we now have now delivered over 10 million Mustangs. But it means extra than simply gross sales quantity. It’s the center and soul of Ford. (When it was launched) it form of modified the best way individuals take a look at automobiles.
TDB: Speaking of gross sales numbers, they continue to be fairly good however have clearly diminished through the years. (Ed: as just lately as 2006, Ford bought 166,530 Mustangs within the U.S. alone. Last 12 months that fell to 102,090 worldwide.)
Owens: The sports activities automotive section itself has been shrinking. When we have been promoting the gen-5 Mustang, (beginning in 2005), it was 2.5% of the market. Now it’s round 1%. There’s much more selection. You have plenty of different fanatic automobiles, just like the Bronco that folks can use to discover and do issues aside from going from Point A to Point B.
TDB: So, what does that imply for the seventh-generation Mustang?
Owens: We hope it can usher in a youthful viewers (with) all that new know-how. We assume it’s nonetheless price investing in.
TDB: It in all probability received’t damage that you simply’re seeing a number of the crosstown competitors, (Ed: the Chevrolet Camaro, Dodge Charger and Dodge Challenger) go away.
Owens: That’s common. There have been quite a few years after we didn’t have these rivals within the market. Somebody who has a bowtie (the Chevy emblem) tattooed on their physique in all probability received’t depart GM and purchase a Mustang. But these people who find themselves keen on an inside combustion engine sports activities automotive that has, you recognize, the facility and efficiency and know-how of a Mustang would possibly contemplate that now and we’d like to have them.
Change is coming
TDB: You simply mentioned one thing vital: an inside combustion engine sports activities automotive. The all-electric Mustang Mach-E is anticipated to outsell the basic Mustang coupe this 12 months. What does that imply?
Owens: There are lifelong followers of the Mustang who’ve had destructive opinions on the Mach-E, but it surely’s rising on them. It has the center and soul of a Mustang. The (basic coupe) is a life-stage car and there are occasions in your life you possibly can’t get pleasure from it … like I came upon after I introduced residence my daughter after she was born. The Mach-E has the center and soul of a Mustang — and the room to have the ability to get pleasure from it in a life stage the place you won’t have been in a position to get pleasure from it earlier than.
TDB: But what does that say concerning the long-term future?
Owens: It’s promoting actual effectively and it’s one of many causes we’re in a position to do an inside combustion engine Mustang in its seventh technology.
TDB: Do we attain some extent the place the basic Mustang has to go all-electric?
Owens: I’m not going to speak about future product.
TDB: But it sems clear there must be much more modifications made to Mustang sooner or later.
Owens: Yeah, there’s no query the world is altering. And (Mustang) goes to vary in numerous methods. We’re all the time trying to the long run to see what we will don’t just for Mustang clients however for the well being of the model.
TDB: One of the keys to success appears to be having so many alternative Mustang variants. You had, what, one thing like a dozen completely different variants over the course of the gen-6 mannequin?
Owens: There have all the time been fairly just a few variants, just like the High Country Special, the California Special, the Twister Edition. One of my favorites was the Blue Bonnet Edition for Texas. You have the Bullitts, and the Mach-1s and the 429s. We all the time look to having variants that match buyer wants. Now, we’re actually proud to launch the Dark Horse.
TDB: For a very long time, you centered Mustang on the U.S. But it now appears to have a loyal following worldwide.
Owens: We had the European media in (to check drive the 2024 Mustang) they usually had smiles on their faces. We didn’t formally begin exporting Mustang till gen-6. But we already had fan golf equipment on six of the seven continents. We assume there’s a love of the horse automotive there and we’re excited to ship the seventh technology.