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DEARBORN, Mich. — The Ford Mustang is still galloping at 50.
Ford Motor Co. on Thursday introduced the 2015 Mustang, a confident and aggressive riff on the iconic pony car that first made Americans swoon in the 1960s.
The Mustang’s passionate fans are sure to love it, but Ford will have to wait and see if it is enough to overtake rivals and win international buyers.
The Mustang was revealed at events in New York, Los Angeles, Shanghai, Sydney, Barcelona, and Ford’s hometown of Dearborn. It goes on sale next fall in North America and will reach Europe and Asia in 2015.
Ford is not saying how much it will cost. The current one starts around $23,000. A convertible version will be offered.
“Mustang cuts to the heart and soul of our company and really represents our company at its best,” Ford Chief Operating Officer Mark Fields told hundreds of dealers and employees gathered in Dearborn to see the new car.
Since 2004, Ford has been building the Mustang in Flat Rock, Mich., about 35 miles north of Toledo. It also builds the Fusion there. First shown at the 1964 World’s Fair in New York, the Mustang was a sensation from the start. Ford sold 22,000 Mustangs that first weekend alone and more than 400,000 in the first year.
Analysts told The Blade recently that Ford has a lot riding on the sixth-generation version.
“The Mustang is part of Ford’s personality and DNA, and getting it right is critically important for its image,” said Stephanie Brinley, senior analyst with IHS Automotive.
Unlike in its early days, the Mustang is not a large volume seller. Ford sold 70,438 Mustangs in 2011 and 82,995 in 2012.
Ford sells more pickups in a week than Mustangs in a month. But Ford says the Mustang has the highest name recognition and highest favorable opinion of its cars. And car companies count on beautiful sports cars to cast a glow over the rest of their lineup.
The Mustang’s first full redesign since 2005 presented Ford with a tough task: Update and freshen an icon without alienating fans. The new car takes plenty of cues from the old. The long hood and sloping fastback are still there, as is the trapezoid-shaped grille with the Mustang logo from the original. The new car sits lower and wider, and the roof tapers dramatically in the front and back. The signature rounded headlights are smaller and sit back under a fierce, chiseled brow. The traditional three-bar taillights are now three-dimensional and tucked beneath the rear deck lid. The overall look is wirier than the current, more muscular version designed in 2005.
Ford hopes Mustang can again become the top-selling pony car in the United States. The Chevrolet Camaro, last redesigned in 2009, has outsold its rival for three years and is on track to do it again this year, according to Kelley Blue Book.
Dealers at the Dearborn event were thrilled. “They captured what’s distinctly Mustang but it’s new and fresh,” said Brian Godfrey, general manager of Pat Milliken Ford in Redford, Mich.