Ford admits it’s unlikely to lure disgruntled Chevrolet Camaro and Dodge Challenger buyers, even though its new-generation Mustang is the final V8-powered muscle car available in the world.
Chevrolet has announced it will discontinue the current Camaro at the start of 2024, while Dodge has committed to making the Challenger an electric vehicle, leaving the new Mustang the last of its kind. It’s powered by a choice of internal combustion engines, with a new 2.3-litre four-cylinder EcoBoost unit developed for this new Mustang to complement the upgraded V8 ‘Coyote’.
Despite the fact muscle cars remain a relatively popular segment in the US market, Ford isn’t expecting an influx of new customers. Jim Owens, Brand Manager for the Mustang, told Australian media that the passionate and loyal audience for these types of cars will make it challenging to lure them across to the Blue Oval, but there’s hope for some level of growth now the competition has reduced.
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“For people who have a bow tie [Chevrolet logo] tattooed on their body or a Challenger logo - or a Demon, Red Eye, whatever they want to do - we probably won’t bring those people in,” Owens admitted.
“It would be hard to take someone who is that loyal to the Challenger or Camaro and bring them in.
“But for those who are still interested in an internal combustion engine version of the sports car, who don’t have their loyalties, we believe we not only have the design but the powertrain and the suspension and that [digital interior] technology… the Unreal Gaming technology, it’s going to bring in a younger audience, for sure.”
Owens also shrugged off the suggestion that the decisions from Chevrolet to drop the Camaro with no clear plans for its return and Dodge to swap the V8 for electric motors should make Mustang fans nervous that the petrol-powered pony car is on borrowed time.
“No, this is not the first time Camaro and Challenger have not been with us, they’re going to end up doing what they’re going to do, but I don’t want to talk about the competitors,” he said.
“If you looked at the 2007 Camaro and Challenger ‘Cars and Coffee’ parking lot they’d probably be empty, so there have been times when those products have not been in the segment and we’ve been here for 59 years.”
The new Mustang is due to arrive in Australia in the first quarter of 2024 with a three-tier line-up consisting of the EcoBoost, V8-powered GT and the new Dark Horse variant. Detailed pricing and specifications for the new range won’t be revealed until closer to that date.