The new Ford Mustang is just weeks away from a surprise unveiling in Australia -- two years before the iconic muscle car is due in local showrooms -- giving Ford fans hope after the doom and gloom of the company’s factory closures and the early exit of the Falcon GT and V8 ute.
Ford is airfreighting a top-secret version of the new Mustang so that Australia can take part in a simultaneous global unveiling to media of the new model in Sydney on the late evening of December 5, timed to concide with similar events in five other countries.
Ford is yet to release images of the new Mustang but the best guess so far is said to be artist impressions revealed by North America’s Car And Driver magazine, which depicts a more sleek design while retaining some of the previous model’s retro-cool looks.
Ford is yet to confirm which engines the Mustang will be available with, but there has been widespread speculation about a choice of V8 and, controversially, turbo four-cylinder power.
The four-cylinder has been added to broaden the Mustang’s appeal and make it more affordable to buy and run, but it is not the first time Ford has put four-cylinder power under the Mustang's bonnet.
Ford made four-cylinder Mustangs from 1978 to 1993, including a turbocharged 2.3-litre version from 1984 to 1986. The plan was to sell 10,000 turbo four-cylinder Mustangs per year but Ford ended up cancelling the model after selling about 10,000 over two-and-a-half years. Ford is hoping the new four-cylinder will have more sales success.
Prices are yet to be confirmed by News Corp Australia understands Ford is aiming for a starting price less than $50,000 for the new Mustang range, due on sale locally before the end of 2015.
Ford has never made a right-hand-drive Mustang on a production line before. Old models sold in Australia in the 1960s and early 2000s were converted locally.
The Mustang’s arrival will likely ease some of the pain of the confirmation in the past week that Ford will axe the Falcon GT and the Falcon V8 ute by the end of 2014, two years before Ford’s Australian factories are due to close.
Instead, Ford will revive the XR8 sedan with a less powerful version of the Falcon GT’s supercharged V8. It will be the company’s sole V8 offering until the Mustang arrives.
Meanwhile, the news is more grim at Holden. As News Corp Australia has reported earlier, the Holden ute is due to be axed by the end of 2016, regardless of Holden’s future manufacturing plans.
And a secret government document obtained by News Corp Australia a fortnight ago revealed that Holden will not have a V8 in its showrooms from 2018 onwards, as the next large sedan that replaces the Commodore will be front-wheel-drive.