Mustang gets a facelift

A Ford Mustang GT at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, Michigan.
A Ford Mustang GT at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, Michigan.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

Ford Motor is updating the sports car to counteract the growing demand for sport utility vehicle

MICHIGAN • Ford Motor Company will give its Mustang pony car a facelift, power surge and higher- tech touches to turn around a United States sales slide hitting the broader sports car segment, as buyers flock to sport utility vehicles.

The 2018 Mustang arriving in North America this autumn 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 V6 engine long associated with lower-cost models and make a turbo-charged four-cylinder - tweaked for more torque - the base option.

The reworking is aimed at recovering from a 13 per cent drop in US deliveries last year, the model's first annual decline since 2013.

Ageing baby boomers are among consumers turning away from sports cars and embracing sport utility vehicles 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 per cent in 2015, allowing Ford to reclaim the crown for top-selling sports car from General Motors' Chevrolet Camaro.

The Mustang's latest look was introduced on Tuesday at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit and at events in Los Angeles and New York.

The car's classic V8 engine will get more horsepower and torque, though Ford did not immediately reveal specifics.

Ford sold 105,932 Mustangs last year, 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 the US. Ford has not 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 will give drivers various ways to customise the car's 12-inch digital instrument cluster.

They will 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" colour, "Orange Fury".

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 21, 2017, with the headline 'Mustang gets a facelift'. Print Edition | Subscribe