A new global customer
Ford expects only about 10 percent of the Mustangs made in Flat Rock, Mich., to be sold overseas. That translates to total sales outside of the core U.S. and Canadian markets of about 10,000 or less, but the company says it isn't looking for the Mustang to rack up Fusion-style volumes.
Outside North America, IHS Automotive estimates the biggest markets for the new Mustang will be Germany, the United Arab Emirates, Switzerland, the Philippines, Brazil, South Korea, France and the United Kingdom.
Before Ford went global with the Mustang, it needed to know exactly who its customers would be. Ford knew where to find those potential customers. Although the Mustang has been sold mainly in North America through its history, there are 200 Mustang owners clubs on five continents. Some of them are in unlikely places -- Iceland, for example.
Steve Ling, Ford's U.S. car marketing manager, said Ford had to ask some fundamental questions: "Who are these people? What is it they want first and foremost? Actually it's not that different [from what U.S. Mustang buyers want]. They value freedom, and not just in the U.S. It's a lifestyle vehicle. It's not a commuter A to B vehicle."
People still want a "visceral driving experience," he says. "If you had a crappy day at work, and go down to the parking lot and turn the key, it's an instant vacation."
But some wanted more than just thrills.
"The newer customers said they wanted the latest technology," Ling says.
Performance lover's car goes high tech
So Ford is opening the floodgates to a group of new technologies not seen before on a car beloved by many consumers who cared more about performance than gizmos.
The Mustang is one of the few Ford models that haven't been offered with MyFord Touch in the United States. That's about to change and the new car will get the latest version of the system. All Mustangs also will come with push-button start. Ford will offer other systems including Blind Spot Monitoring, Cross Traffic Alert and selectable driving modes operated with toggle switches positioned below the radio. The modes include normal, sport, track and snow and rain.
Though Ford has made weight saving a priority as a means of meeting fuel economy regulations, engineers declined to comment on the 2015 Mustang's weight or fuel economy.