Kill the Mustang? We 'went ballistic'
To the Editor:
I enjoyed the stories about the Ford Mustang in the April 14 issue.
In one, you gave Bob Rewey -- then group vice president of North American sales, marketing and customer service -- recognition for the major role he played in saving the Mustang ("How Ford's pony car survived a brush with death"). I can tell you firsthand that that recognition is richly deserved.
In 1987, when those decisions about the continuation of the traditional Mustang were being hotly debated, I had the privilege of serving as the chairman of the Ford National Dealer Council. During one of our council meetings, Rewey revealed that there was a real possibility that the Mustang as we knew it was in danger of being discontinued. The council members went ballistic.
Looking back on it now, I think Rewey was testing us to see just how committed we were to the traditional Mustang. He wanted the council to communicate to Ford dealers that the continuation of the Mustang line was going to depend in large part on how they would respond to a challenge to sell a certain number of Mustangs before the end of the model year.
I don't remember the number; but whatever it was, Ford dealers rose to the occasion and exceeded the goal.
If you were to ask Rewey today whether the council's support gave him added ammunition in his battle to save the Mustang, I think he would tell you it absolutely did.
A lot of people played a role in saving the Mustang, but I believe the future of the Mustang was assured that day in the Ford council meeting.
The writer is a retired Ford dealer and was president of the National Automobile Dealers Association in 1992.