FRANKFURT -- Ford's Europe boss Jim Farley says the redesigned Mustang is on back order until spring in Europe.
That's an early positive in the company's drive to make the Mustang -- traditionally a U.S.-oriented take on a performance car -- more popular internationally. But Farley said at a press briefing here that the automaker can't predict what sales will be after the new-car buzz diminishes.
"It's going to be tough to tell because the demand has been so much higher than we thought, but we have 8,000 orders," he said. "That's far beyond our expectation, and we're just starting the right-hand-drive deliveries. We're just starting in the U.K."
Ford has noticed one oddity: Its top Mustang dealership is in Sweden, where there is a loyal fan base for U.S. muscle and pony cars.
Farley, Ford president of Europe, Middle East and Africa, also said that the company posted a 17 percent sales increase in August in Russia, albeit on a low base in the depressed market. He attributed the rise to the introduction of several models, including the Fiesta, Transit and Mondeo. In contrast to General Motors, which is pulling back from the market, Ford has continued to invest in Russia.
Farley said that the continued weakness of the ruble makes the market challenging, particularly if an automaker imports parts.
"But," he added, "that's still a top five or six market in Europe. It's a huge market."