LAS VEGAS, Nevada, USA -- Ford is considering selling its remodeled Mustang in Europe as another American muscle car.
Ford's US-rival Chrysler hopes retro American styling will appeal to European tastes. The US arm of DaimlerChrysler just introduced in Europe the Chrysler 300C sedan and 300C Touring station wagon, whose bold extrovert design is unmistakably American.
Chrysler hopes to sell 20,000 units a year of the two models in Europe. That would be a big jump from the predecessor, the 300M. It sold just 1,000 units last year and 9,000 at its peak in 1999.
Ford has not yet committed to introducing the new Mustang to Europe. But the first retail sale of a 2005 Mustang was made to a German couple who bought the car in California and shipped it to Germany.
"There is quite a bit of interest in Europe," said Hau Thai-Tang, Mustang chief engineer.
Mustang team members met with Ford of Europe officials to see if there was a business case for the new Mustang in Europe.
Because of rising diesel engines, regulatory requirements and other factors, Ford officials believe Mustang likely could not generate and sustain enough sales.
Thai-Tang says Ford officials should re-examine the business case.
"We just weren't able to convince them that there was a compelling market slot for the Mustang of any sustained volume," said Thai-Tang. "In hindsight, maybe it is something we should look at again."
Thai-Tang was speaking during a panel discussion on the fringe of the Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) show, which ran in Las Vegas from November 2 to 5.
The new Mustang, with its muscular looks, powerful engines and affordable price bears a close resemblance to the 1969-70 Mustang Mach I. The car is shaping up to be the most popular version of the long-running muscle car in decades.
In the US, Ford expects to build about 160,000 Mustangs in 2005 and sell them all with few or no incentives.
– Wim Oude Weernink contributed