LOS ANGELES — After three years of defying expectations and historical sales patterns, Ford Motor Co. has cut back the V-8 engine mix in the Mustang.
Since launching the redesigned sports coupe in 2004, the 4.6-liter V-8 has accounted for 52 percent of the Mustang's powertrain mix, Mustang chief engineer Paul Randle said. The Mustang's historical mix is 70 percent V-6 and 30 percent V-8.
"It was three capacity increases (for the V-8) after Job 1 for me," Randle said. "Now I'm throttling back, and I'm at about 45 percent V-8."
Randle said Ford's marketing division came to him "three times in three months" after the 2005 Mustang went on sale, pleading for more V-8s. He worked with suppliers and Ford's 4.6-liter V-8 engine plant to boost capacity.
But for the 2008 model year, Randle is trimming back the V-8 mix partly because of rising fuel prices and also because Mustang performance enthusiasts typically buy early in the vehicle's life cycle.
"We've got a really respectable (fuel economy) rate on the V-6," Randle said.
Ford says the Mustang with a 4.0-liter V-6 and an automatic transmission is rated at 16 mpg in city driving and 24 mpg on the highway.