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Why Ford Is Keeping the Mustang Brand


 

January 28, 2019 | Mike Smith

 


Most of you by now have heard that Ford has started the move to eliminating all “car” brands from their line-up excluding their popular brand Mustang. The idea is to push the models that are popular in the current market such as pick-ups, SUVs and crossovers. Ford took the time to review all the numbers and found that most of their sales came from the three lines listed above and from the Mustang. So, after some thought and consideration, Ford decided that it would be best to remove all the product lines that did not meet their sales expectation.


Though Ford didn’t go into a lot of detail about which vehicles were the most profitable and which were the least, you can assume that the “car” lines are the least because those are the ones being cut. On the other hand, the Mustang which starts out with a base hardtop at $25,845 has a wide range of options for all types of drivers. The Mustang convertible starts at $31,345. The most popular model which happens the be the GT starts out a little higher than the convertible and can push up past $40,000 with options. The higher end options like the 526-horsepower GT350, starts at more than $57,000, the 2020 GT500 (yet to be priced) and the racing version of the Mustang Cobra can get into the $100,000s, proves that there are options for everyone.

 

“I can’t think of another car where some models sell for four times the base price, “Mr. Farley said. “We sell a lot of Mustangs that are $70,000.” Since that is true, you would estimate that the Mustang brings in a fair amount of profit for Ford.

 

But is it just the numbers that kept the Mustang from the chopping block or was it something deeper? When asked by the New York Times if the Mustang was one of the brands that Ford was going to cut from their line-up, James D. Farley Jr., Ford’s president of global markets said, “Get rid of the Mustang?” “The Mustang is like Rocky: It survived the 1970s fuel crisis, the glam 1980s, the move to S.U.V.s. It’s made it through every round of cuts.”


When asked specifically by the NYT why the Mustang was going to live on, Mr. Jonas said. “It’s more of an emotional thing. They’re trying to preserve the sexuality of motoring the way it used to be known.”


Now that is something that everyday Mustang drivers, fans and hobbyist can understand. We understand that the Mustang brand is 55 years old and that when it was released it was meant to be a stylish, affordable and practical alternative to expensive European sports cars. We also know that it has been in tons of movies and has two different United States Post Office stamps to commemorate its popularity and history. We remember Steve McQueen driving the original “Bullitt” Mustang through the streets of San Francisco.


Another example of the reason Ford didn’t kill off the Mustang can be seen at the auction block. In 2018 Ford released a new version of the “Bullitt” Mustang to commemorate the anniversary of the movie. The first “Bullitt” Mustang off the assembly line went straight to auction and sold for $300,000. Just this month, a 1967 Shelby GT500 Super Snake (1 of 1), sold for $2.2 million dollars, a 2020 GT500 prototype sold for $1.1 million dollars and a 1993 Mustang Cobra R sold for record (for Fox Body Mustangs) $132,000 at Barrett-Jackson in Scottsdale this month as well.


As you can see, it is not just about the bottom line at Ford when it comes to Mustang. Sure, it doesn’t hurt that the Mustang is a winner and that it is making the company money, but there is more to it than that. Eric Minoff an automotive specialist at Bonhams auction house in New York, told the NYT that the Ford Mustang “is a cultural icon,” he added. “Even people who don’t know anything about cars recognize a Mustang.” Continuing on Mr. Minoff said that the prices we are seeing at auction is really surprising considering how many Mustangs were produced originally. “After the car first came out, there was a saying that hot cakes are selling like Mustangs,” Mr. Minoff said. “They’re not exactly rare. But no matter how common they are, they’re very attractive cars, and with the V-8 engine and rear-wheel drive, they’re very sporty and fun to drive. The fastback editions, especially with all the options, command quite a premium.”

 

Mr. Farley went on to describe the Mustang as Ford’s “mind-set” vehicle. “When we ask people around the world what they think of Ford, they say Mustang,” he said. “Mustang means freedom. It means taking a road trip in a convertible down the West Coast. That’s what people all over the world imagine America to be. Why would we ever give that up?”

 

At the end of the day, business is business and Ford is going to do what is best for the company. But I think as long as the Mustang keeps its head above water, Ford will continue to produce it. When a model is as internationally iconic as the Mustang is, you can’t just remove it from your line-up. To a certain extent, if Ford were to remove the Mustang from their line-up, Ford would be losing their identity. And in this economy and war of automotive brands, I think they know they can’t afford to do that. So here is to many more years of the Ford Mustang and long live the King!

 

 




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