Designer: '15 version 'Lower, wider, more exotic'

Joel Piaskowski, the Mustang's design director
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Goodbye retro, hello world. That, in a nutshell, sums up the difference between the 2015 Ford Mustang and the current model.

Ford is taking the Mustang global for the first time in its 50-year history, and the 2015 version gets a design makeover aimed at keeping the iconic car's essence while luring a new breed of younger customers.

The 2015 Mustang is sleeker looking than its predecessor, but still has the same broad shoulders and big, blunt front end Ford designers like to compare to a "fist breaking glass." Those who feared Ford might shrink the Mustang for narrow European roads can rest easy. This horse still has plenty of brawn but it looks much less upright and slab-sided.

The 2015 Mustang is a "lower, wider, more exotic proposition" than the previous version, says Joel Piaskowski, Mustang design director. The GT version of the new vehicle is nearly 3 inches wider in the rear and more than an inch shorter in overall vehicle height.

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"It's astounding when you see it next to today's car," Ford global design chief J Mays told reporters last week at the launch, referring to the rear deck, which is 2.75 inches lower than the current Mustang.

Mays says the design team's challenge was to "edit" Mustang cues for the global market, keeping the Mustang essence but creating a more modern form.

Gone is the prominent front bumper shelf, the external B-pillar and the retro hockey stick imprint on the side body panels. The new car has a cleaner, more unified look.

"There are no extra plastic bits or fake plastic scoops," Mays says.

The new car has a trapezoid-shaped grille drawn from the new global Ford family design look epitomized by the Fusion sedan.

"Mustang always had a trapezoidal grille," Piaskowski says. What's new is "a more technical look" at the front, part of a more contemporary look he and his team believe will help to attract new customers.

Reaction has been favorable from some fans of traditional Mustangs.

"I'm excited by the design," says Marcie Cipriani, director of the SVT Owners Association, an enthusiast group dedicated to Ford performance vehicles. "I like it that they pulled just enough of the current Mustang DNA. It does have a much more European feel to it."

You can reach Bradford Wernle at bwernle@crain.com.


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