August 07, 2014
In December 2013, Ford Motor Company introduced the latest in six generations of its iconic Pony Car, the Mustang. Since then, 2015 pre-production models have been showing up in car events across the country, as Mustang celebrates its 50th anniversary. Although there has been a lot written about the newest addition to Ford’s stable of Mustangs, there are still a few unanswered questions. For example, I certainly thought I’d be seeing these Stangs on the street by now, so just when are they going to be released? eClassicAutos had an opportunity to talk with Steve Ling, Ford’s North American Marketing Manager, to ask this question and others about this highly-anticipated model. But first, here’s a recap of what’s new about the latest Mustang.
The 2015 Mustang, model designation S550, retains the classic appearance of the Pony Car, but its sleeker styling and updates give it a more modern presence. It maintains the front engine, rear-drive setup on the same wheel base dimension as the 2014, model designation S197, but beyond that the two models have some significant differences. A major design change (all new) for 2015 is that, instead of the solid rear axles of previous generations, it has fully independent rear suspension. The 2015 Mustang is about the same length, but is wider and lower, which improves the stance. Although the body-in-white weighs less, sporting an aluminum hood, front fenders, and suspension pieces, the investment in larger brakes, the independent rear suspension, more airbags, and other elements to improve performance, kept the weight about the same as the outgoing model. Ford offers the new Mustang in three engine options: a 6-cylinder, a 310 HP 4-cylinder turbo, and a muscle car-lover’s V8, which pumps out 435 naturally-aspirated horsepower. For additional information on what’s new on the S550 model, and all the options, go to Ford’s website.
Now, here’s more of what we learned from Steve Ling.
eClassicAutos: I know a lot of people, including we at eClassicAutos, are looking forward to the release of the new Mustang, so when can we expect to see it take to the roads?
Steve: Ford is currently accepting orders for the ’15 Mustang, with owner delivery planned in the U.S. in October. China will be the next country to receive the Pony Car, followed by Europe (except England), and then Japan and England. And, yes, there will be a right-hand drive Mustang.
eClassicAutos: Sounds like the new Mustang will do its part to help with our trade deficit. Also, the right-hand drive cars will surely be a collector item when some make their way back to the States. Give us your view of the international platform design of the new Mustangs.
Steve: The Ford Mustang has a strong following in many countries around the world, including many where we have never officially sold the vehicle, and international buyers want a piece of this Americana. When starting the Sixth Generation Mustang design, Ford took the opportunity to develop an all-new car that would meet the automotive requirements of the world market. However, a guiding principle in the makeover was to maintain the car’s DNA, as this is what all Mustang fans want, whether they live in North America or in other parts of the world.
eClassicAutos: Of course, this is not the first time Ford has sold the Pony Car overseas. When the first generation Mustangs were sold to the German market, the car was badged as a “T5” because of licensing issues. Will the Sixth generation Mustang have a different name in the international market?
Steve: The name is Mustang around the world, no matter which of the over 110 countries it is purchased!
eClassicAutos: Can you tell us how many ’15 Mustangs have already been ordered, and of those, what is the most popular color?
Steve: Although Ford can’t release specific numbers, the public response has been huge, indicating it is a clear winner. Regarding the most ordered color, it’s Black, followed by Race Red. Although Red Mustangs outnumber all other colors for Mustangs over the 50 year history, in recent years Ford sells more Black Mustangs than any other.
eClassicAutos: We heard that the flamboyant “Gotta Have It Green” color has been dropped for 2015. Why did Ford decide to discontinue this color?
Steve: Ford changes its color lineup from year to year, and we’ve added new colors for 2015. To make room for these new colors, discontinuing certain colors from previous years, like “GHI Green,” is necessary. We have received the most comments from the Yellow Mustang Club, who is very excited to see the new “Triple Yellow” color for 2015.
eClassicAutos: Specialty models are always big news to the car crowd. What can you tell us about the rumored GT350 model, Shelbys, or other limited-edition Pony Cars?
Steve: For 2015, the top tier Mustang is the GT. However, Ford offers a performance package upgrade on the GT to make it even more of a track star. Regarding other specialty Mustangs that may be offered later, I can’t discuss future models. But, I will say that a huge amount of effort has gone into the development of the new independent rear suspension and improvement to the front suspension, as well. Ford wouldn’t have done this if there weren’t future plans to exploit these advancements with cars bearing some of the great iconic Mustang names.
One unique Mustang model being offered in 2015 is the 50th Anniversary Limited Edition. Only 1,964 hardtop models will be built with special styling accents and painted either Wimbledon White or Kona Blue. There will also be one convertible 50th Anniversary car built and given away in a charity drive, with proceeds going to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society.
eClassicAutos: Yes, we’ve seen examples of the 50th Anniversary models at auto events around the country and really like the three-pane glass styling touch on the rear quarter windows. Will this be an option from Ford on other Mustangs?
Steve: It’s currently not an option on other Mustangs and reserved only for the 50th Anniversary model. By the way, it was an extremely expensive item to develop for the 50th Anniversary model, but it was something Ford wanted to do to pay homage to the design of the first Pony Cars.
eClassicAutos: Dodge has recently rolled out their Challenger 707 HP Hellcat. Can we expect a return salvo from Ford?
Steve: These are very exciting times, and there’s no doubt this is really the golden age of muscle cars. Frankly, the latest news from Dodge is really a response to our prior 2014 Shelby Mustang that pumped out 662 HP. I can’t say what our next action will be, but clearly we are not resting on our laurels. I suspect we’ll have to talk again in the not too distant future.
eClassicAutos: Thanks, Steve. We’ve certainly enjoyed talking to you about the newest Ford Mustang. I'll book a flight to Dearborn, as soon as you give a date.