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Ford sees an opportunity for the Mustang as the competition foregoes V8 engines

2024 Ford Mustang

Source: Ford

DETROIT – Ford engine sees an opportunity to boost Mustang sales as it becomes the last American muscle car with a traditional V8 engine, appealing to generations of gearheads drawn to the high-performance vehicles.

The optimism comes after Mustang’s closest American rivals halted production of their muscle cars in December. General Motors stopped production of the Chevrolet Camaro and Stellantis ended production of its Dodge Challenger V8 ahead of a new all-electric muscle car later this year, followed by gasoline-powered models with twin-turbo inline-six engines expected in 2025.

Their exodus (and that of others in the muscle car market) is the result of changing consumer demand away from two-door cars, as well as stricter fuel economy standards and the emergence of all-electric vehicles with unprecedented acceleration.

Jeff Marentic, general manager of Ford Blue products, which includes the Mustang, said the pony car continues to be good business for the automaker both domestically and internationally. Mustang celebrates its 60th anniversary on April 17th.

“We are pleased to continue offering Mustang. It is sad that the competition is decreasing, but this is an advantage for us,” Marentic told CNBC. “People who are looking for a real American sports car can use it. … We’re looking at the future of the Mustang and talking about it and how we can develop it further.”

Ford Chairman Bill Ford and President and CEO Jim Farley chat in front of the newly unveiled Mustang Dark Horse at The Stampede in downtown Detroit on September 14, 2022.

ford

Marentic declined to discuss specific sales expectations for the vehicle, but noted that the company has added a new V8 model for the seventh-generation vehicle called the Dark Horse – a not-so-subtle hint at Ford’s ambitions for the car V8 drive.

Both the Dark Horse and 2024 Mustang GT are powered by a 5.0-liter V8 engine, with the new model producing up to 500 horsepower and 418 foot-pounds of torque. Ford has also announced a 2025 Mustang GTD with a supercharged 5.2-liter V8 engine expected to arrive later this year with more than 800 horsepower.

Ford has been able to continue selling Mustang V8 models because the company has invested in more efficient vehicles and moved early to smaller turbocharged four-cylinder engines, which now account for about 48% of Mustang sales in the United States

Ford also offers an all-electric Mustang Mach-E crossover that shares similar design cues and badging as the two-door coupe, but has little to no features other than the name.

“I can understand the green movement, but we are so proud of our V8,” Marentic said, adding that the model accounts for a majority of Mustang sales in Europe. “It helps define who Ford is outside of the United States.”

The Ford Mustang Mach-E will be unveiled at the New York International Auto Show in Manhattan, New York on April 5, 2023.

David Dee Delgado | Reuters

The seventh-generation Mustang, which Ford introduced in September, recently began shipping outside of North America. Ford says it will eventually be sold in 85 markets on every continent except Antarctica.

Sales outside the U.S. have helped maintain production of the Mustang, which is manufactured exclusively at a Detroit-area plant, despite declining domestic demand for two-door sports cars.

U.S. sales of the Mustang have fallen from a recent peak of more than 122,000 units in 2015 to fewer than 49,000 last year.

Internationally, Ford says it has registered more than 235,000 Mustangs since 2015. At that time, the automaker began producing right-hand drive models for countries such as the United Kingdom, Australia and Japan.

According to Ford, the most important markets for Mustang outside the United States are Canada, Australia and Europe.

“People have a very strong connection to the Mustang,” Marentic said. “The attraction is amazing.”

Marentic declined to discuss future product plans for the Ford Mustang, including a hybrid model supposedly canceled for the seventh generation car or the potential for a fully electric version of the two-door car.

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