Today at the 2007 Ford full line preview, both Derrick Kuzak and Carroll Shelby gave some insight about what’s in store for Ford’s ponycar. As the most successful car in Ford’s portfolio, Mustang enthusiasts were given a promise of “new product content” each year. I suppose that’s what the company should do considering it’s slumping sales of late, attributed to many things including higher gas prices. Gas rebates and incentives only go so far, and Ford has to maintain interest in the icon that defines their “bold moves” advertising campaign.
As Ford’s group vice president of product development, Kuzak said that Carroll Shelby will work on improvements for the Mustang each year, and that the Mustang will be redesigned again for 2009 (possible concept depicted above), same as Ford did in 2005.
Kuzak, however, gave no details on what’s in the pipeline for Mustang. When asked if we can expect a 600-horsepower version of the car, he replied, “Never say never to anything.” It was clear in interviews that Shelby and the Ford team may be a bit anxious about the prospects of a revived Chevrolet Camaro.
When asked if the Mustang is racing toward the 600-hp mark (the GT500 would be a good start), Carroll Shelby said “It would be very easy for the Mustang to go to 600 horsepower — and north from there — and still pass the company’s 50,000-mile warranty.”
Ford’s moves are likely part of a war with GM, another company struggling but using a muscle car to prove that they still have game. Rumors are that GM may drop a Corvette Z06 engine into the Camaro, which would certainly up the horsepower ante.
When asked about the Camaro concept, Mr. Shelby said, “I don’t think it’s sensational, but I think it’s adequate.” He added: “I don’t think the Camaro will come out with anything that puts us down. We are ahead of the game. And we know how to stay ahead. I don’t see people — the general press or the public — knocking the design of the Mustang.”
Will Ford’s strategy prove successful? Do you think the new Mustangs will outperform Chevy’s attempt at another Camaro? Let us know what you think!