Next Mustang to undergo global design input, Ford says
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GENEVA -- Ford Motor Co.'s design studios worldwide will provide styling ideas for an American icon: the next generation Mustang.
"It is a common process we [now] use on every vehicle," Derrick Kuzak, Ford's group vice president for global product development, said today at the Geneva auto show.
Ford's next-generation pony car will be the first Mustang with styling themes proposed by studios in Europe, Australia and other regions. Previously, Ford's U.S. studio was solely responsible for Mustang design.
"When we embark on a new product, particularly one that is all new, it involves all of the studios. Then J [Mays] and the design team pick the best of those themes," Kuzak told Automotive News. Mays is Ford's global design chief. Ford adopted the global design approach three years ago.
Kuzak did not say when the redesigned Mustang is due. However, industry sources say the new sports coupe will debut in the 2014 or 2015 model year.
While the final styling theme might come from outside the United States, he said, Ford's Dearborn, Mich., studio will have responsibility to turn the selected styling theme into a production vehicle.
Kuzak said the new Ranger pickup is the latest example of product cooperation undertaken by Ford's studios.
"The Ranger was done by the Australian studio with input from the European studio," Kuzak said during an interview at the show. The Ranger is the first global Ford vehicle designed by the Australian subsidiary.
The Ranger pickup was introduced last year and will be sold outside North America beginning later this year.
Kuzak said the Mustang "is not just an icon in North America, it is an icon globally."
Ford has conducted Mustang clinics in Asia and Europe. He said men and women within a wide range of ages were shown photographs of celebrities and asked, which person represents the Mustang?
The No. 1 person selected was Steve McQueen.
McQueen appeared in the 1968 movie "Bullitt," which included a high-speed chase sequence involving a Mustang driven by McQueen on the hilly streets of San Francisco.