A few years ago, the Ford Motor Company in the USA made a rather controversial decision. The Blue Oval decided to pull the plug on passenger cars in favour of sport utility vehicles and trucks. Thanks to hindsight, now we can all agree that Ford did the right thing by discontinuing the Fiesta, Focus, Taurus, and the Fusion, although the latter will come back as a fancy wagon inspired by the Subaru Outback.
“By 2022, Ford will eliminate such familiar nameplates as the full-size Taurus, midsize Fusion and subcompact Fiesta. It will continue producing the Mustang, the most popular vehicle in the sports coupe segment that has retained a sort of cult status. We’re going to feed the healthy parts of our business and deal decisively with the areas that destroy value. We’re starting to understand what we need to do and making clear decisions there. America wants utility vehicles,” said the CEO Jim Hackett at the time.
At this moment, the Mustang is the only passenger car produced by the Dearborn-based automaker in the United States of America. Many people have been wondering if the pony car still has a place in the line-up, but the Blue Oval doesn’t plan to discontinue the iconic nameplate anytime soon.
Although the Dodge Challenger is outselling the ‘Stang and sports cars as a whole aren’t doing too hot, the head of Mustang marketing Jim Owens says that Ford is “confident in the sports car market. It’s still a healthy 1.2 per cent of the industry, and we’re continuing to be the market share leader globally.”
Excluding December, the Mustang sold 51 756 units in 2020 in the United States, according to Ford Authority. That’s a bit worrying because the US is the largest market for the most recognisable pony car of them all, but then again, the Blue Oval would lose a lot by discontinuing this fellow over low sales. Priced from $26 670 to $72 900 excluding freight, the Mustang will be redesigned from the ground up next year as a 2023 model.
Codenamed S650, the seventh generation will be manufactured in Flat Rock, Michigan, on the same assembly line as the S550. The rumour mill suggests a Mustang-specific platform with various elements from the CD6, the vehicle architecture shared by the Ford Explorer and Lincoln Aviator.
Not that long ago, Jim Owens stopped short of confirming all-wheel drive for the 2023 model even though we all know it’s inevitable. Hybridisation is on the menu for the Mustang ever since Raj Nair was chief technical officer, and believe it or not, even Dodge plans to embrace hybrid muscle.
The Challenger and Charger, which will be treated to three new variants before their redesign, will adopt an eight-speed automatic transmission with a built-in electric motor. Fiat Chrysler Automobiles is one of the first automakers to have placed an order on the hybridised 8HP, which promises a boost of 32 to 215 horsepower on top of the internal combustion engine.