Ford Gives Mustang Face Lift and Performance BoostBy
Lower, leaner design gives model a ‘more technical’ look
Pony car’s V-6 engine dropped, 10-speed transmission added
Ford Motor Co. will give its Mustang pony car a face lift, power surge and higher-tech touches to turn around a U.S. sales slide hitting the broader sports car segment, as buyers flock to sport utility vehicles.
The 2018 Mustang arriving in North America this fall features a lower, leaner front end and LED tail lights resembling triple-stacked parentheses “for a more technical look,” according to a company statement. Ford plans to drop the V-6 engine long associated with lower-cost models and make a turbo-charged 4-cylinder -- tweaked for more torque -- the base option.
The reworking is aimed at recovering from a 13 percent drop in U.S. deliveries last year, the model’s first annual decline since 2013. Aging baby boomers are among consumers turning away from sports cars and embracing SUVs amid lower gasoline prices. The shift has happened just after the Mustang roared back to relevance thanks to a complete makeover coinciding with its 50th anniversary. Sales soared 48 percent in 2015, allowing Ford to reclaim the crown for top-selling sports car from General Motors Co.’s Chevrolet Camaro.
The Mustang’s latest look was introduced Tuesday at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit and at events in Los Angeles and New York City. The car’s classic V-8 engine will get more horsepower and torque, though Ford didn’t immediately reveal specifics.
Ford sold 105,932 Mustangs in 2016, down from 122,349 a year earlier. In October, Ford shut its Mustang factory in Michigan for a week to reduce inventory. The Mustang still outsold the Camaro last year and remained the top-selling sports car in America.
Ford hasn’t released pricing information for the refreshed Mustang. The pony car will offer a 10-speed automatic transmission and add safety and driver-assist features such as pedestrian detection, lane-departure warning and pre-collision assist.
The Dearborn, Michigan-based company also will give drivers various ways to customize the car’s 12-inch digital instrument cluster. They’ll also be able to tailor the rumble of the engine using “a fully variable soundtrack to match the entire acceleration range,” according to Ford’s statement.
The car also will be offered in a new “signature” color, “Orange Fury.”
— With assistance by Jamie Butters