Ford unveils new Mustang, which extends life on gasoline

Ford this week unveiled its seventh-generation Mustang at a cheeky and boisterous launch event in downtown Detroit that showed the power of gasoline-powered vehicles.

The big reveal had been teased for months by company officials and staged as a celebration of the 58-year-old model. The event, organized for Ford employees and Mustang experts, featured pulsating music, intelligently produced videos on large screens and a luminous projection of the brand’s horse logo onto a city building looming in the background.

The 50-minute event culminated with the arrival of three new elegant sedans in different trim levels and, subsequently, a fourth option, a racing vehicle called the “Dark Horse” which was dramatically introduced by Ed Krenz, the Ford’s chief functional engineer for performance.

“His name is indicative of his design and aspirations,” Krenz told an cheering crowd. “His behavior: utterly sinister. Dark Horse is for enthusiasts who want purebred force of nature.”

Ford, which has dived into electric vehicle investment as much as any other company in recent years, abstained earlier Wednesday from saying whether the new Mustang would be electric or gasoline-powered.

But the company has not apologized for its choice to use the internal combustion engine (ICE).

“Investing in another generation of Mustangs is a big statement at a time when many of our competitors are exiting the internal combustion vehicle business,” said Jim Farley, CEO of Ford Motor Company in a press release, adding that the company is “turbocharged”. “ICE growth even though it invests $ 50 billion in the growth of electric vehicles until 2026.

Mustang brand manager Jim Owens said some customers prefer the “gut” feel of an ICE vehicle, adding that the company has already released an EV version of the Mustang, the Mach-E SUV.

“We know there are customers in the sports car segment who still want the internal combustion engine,” he told AFP in an interview ahead of the launch.

“There are a lot of young people from the turn of the millennium and first generation Z who are in the sports car segment and we think we have some wonderful things here that will appeal to them,” he said.

The latest Mustang – once the inspiration for a Serge Gainsbourg song and seen in nearly 3,000 films – features a “fighter jet inspired” interior and performance features that make it “the most exhilarating and fun to drive ever” , Ford said.

The latest Mustang makes a nod to previous versions in lighting and grille design, while also employing the latest digital technology. This includes a key fob that allows drivers who love the sound of an engine spinning to meet their fix at the push of a button.

Extending the Mustang’s run, Ford goes against other brands such as Dodge, which in August said it was phasing out its gasoline-powered muscle car models, the Challenger and Charger.

The Ford vehicle launch event also drew on the spectacle of past auto shows, even as the industry moved away from that marketing model in favor of online launches.

The Detroit Auto Show of yore was known for stunts such as the 1992 arrival of the Jeep Grand Cherokee, which announced itself by crashing into glass.

For Wednesday’s Mustang launch, Ford organized a “Stampede” of previous Mustangs that traveled from all over the country to Hart Plaza in downtown Detroit, creating an impressive lineup of Mustangs that went on for blocks.

Entrants were encouraged to enter a “clothing inspired by their favorite period in Mustang history from the 1960s to the present” contest, with the first prize of a two-year car rental for a new Mustang.

The event also appeared to be intended as a moral boost for “Motor City,” where the auto show was resumed for the first time since 2019 following the cancellations of the pandemic. Presenters have repeatedly acknowledged the input of local Ford employees, particularly at the nearby Flat Rock assembly plant, where the Mustang is built.

© 2022 AFP