Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Ford celebrates its 10 millionth Mustang, banks on car’s draw

Ford celebrates its 10 millionth Mustang, banks on car’s draw

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Visitors look at a Mustang during the 2018 Indonesia International Motor Show in Jakarta in April. BAY ISMOYO/afp

Ford celebrates its 10 millionth Mustang, banks on car’s draw

The ford Mustang – an iconic American brand and a symbol of cool – will reach a major milestone Wednesday as the 10 millionth vehicle rolls off an assembly line at a Detroit-area plant.

The car celebrated in American song and film, and recognised the world over as an iconic American cultural export, will get a big party at Ford’s Michigan headquarters.

It’s a turning point for the carmaker, which is banking on the Mustang’s wide appeal to help it grow global market share.

US sales of the Mustang are dropping, but they are accelerating overseas in markets such as China and Germany.

To celebrate the Mustang milestone, Ford is appealing to the sense of nostalgia for what is seen as the original “freedom vehicle” that exemplified Americans’ love of the open road. After all, the car was named after a horse that roams free in the American West.

“I can think of no other American car that captures the love affair with the automobile that Americans have had... like the Mustang,” automotive historian John Heitmann of the University of Dayton told AFP.

“It is as American as one can have an American product.”

A ‘freedom vehicle’

The Mustang once germinated an entire subgenre of cars.

From a technical standpoint, the original 1965 Mustang was not meant as a muscle car intended to attract those who gravitate to fast wheels.

It was in fact one of the original so-called “pony cars” – a smaller, affordable, practical sibling of flashy sports cars intended to appeal to young professionals, including women.

But the Mustang became an icon almost from the start, in no small part thanks to marketing that would rival a modern-day iPhone launch.

It debuted in the spring, at the 1964 New York World’s Fair, far before other companies announced their latest offerings in the fall. It was hyped up in advance and automotive industry journalists were on hand.

Automotive historian Bob Merlis, at the time a teenager, witnessed the World’s Fair launch.

“It was almost like pandemonium. People were so excited about this car,” Merlis said.

“It was sort of a counterpoint to the very square, staid station wagon ethos that Americans grew up with in suburbia,” he recalled.

“It represented some kind of a freedom vehicle. It embodied that.”

Wilson Pickett immortalised the car in Mustang Sally, a rhythm and blues classic of 1966.

Two years later, the American film star Steve McQueen drove a Mustang in the thriller Bullitt – cementing the car’s cool factor.

It even captured the public imagination overseas, appearing in the 1966 Oscar-winning French film A Man and a Woman by Claude Lelouch.

Global draw

Ford has been playing up that nostalgic past. At this year’s Detroit auto show, the company unveiled a new limited-edition Bullitt Mustang, along with McQueen’s restored original.

For its celebration, Ford intends to highlight Mustang owners’ loyalty to the brand by featuring the first Mustang ever purchased – still owned by the original purchaser.

Mustang owners also have been known to form clubs and restore older models.

“Our intent is to have all 54 years represented,” Ford spokesman Jihan Cadiz told AFP. “For us, obviously it’s a big day.”

The Mustangs will parade from the company’s headquarters in Dearborn, a Detroit suburb, to the Flat Rock plant where Mustang are assembled.

The celebration is part of a strategic decision by the American auto giant to focus heavily on the sporty icon.

Mustangs soon will be one of only two passenger cars from Ford – along with a crossover Focus – sold in North America. All other Ford offerings will be trucks and SUVs.

Ford sold only about 81,000 Mustangs in 2017, a mere 0.5 per cent of the North American car market, according to Autodata. But Mustang sales are growing overseas.

Auto industry analyst Karl Brauer of Kelly Blue Book said Ford is banking on Mustang’s pull as an American cultural symbol – even selling the vehicle well in places such as Germany, where there is a proud tradition of highly-engineered muscle cars.

“It sells extremely well globally,” Brauer said. “So clearly, there’s really a fan following.”

Since Ford began exporting Mustangs in 2015, it has become the world’s best-selling sports car.

The company also says the car is the best-selling coupe in China, which by 2025 is projected to have twice the share of the global car market compared to the US.

MOST VIEWED

  • NagaWorld casinos set to reopen, schools to follow

    NAGACORP Ltd has requested that it be allowed to reopen its NagaWorld integrated resorts in Phnom Penh after the government recently approved casinos to operate again, provided they follow Covid-19 prevention measures set by the Ministry of Health. Mey Vann, the director-general of the Ministry

  • Rubber exports stretch 17%

    Cambodia exported 97,175 tonnes of natural rubber in the first five months of this year, surging 17 per cent compared to the same period last year as the Covid-19 pandemic stretches on, Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries official Khuong Phalla told The Post on Thursday. Phalla,

  • ASEM supports Kingdom’s proposal to postpone meeting amid Covid

    The 13th Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM13) scheduled to be held in Cambodia in November has been postponed until mid-2021 due to the Covid-19 pandemic, a Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation press statement released on Saturday said. The decision was made during a two-day meeting

  • Coffee maker roasted for producing fake product

    The Ministry of Interior’s Counter Counterfeit Committee will send a suspect to court on Monday after she allegedly roasted coffee mixed with soybeans and other ingredients, creating a product which could pose a high risk to consumers’ health. On the afternoon of July 2, the

  • Cash handout programme 80% complete

    Minister of Social Affairs, Veterans and Youth Rehabilitation Vong Soth confirmed on Thursday that the implementation of the Cash Transfer Programme For Poor and Vulnerable Households During Covid-19 had been implemented for more than 80% of the over 560,000 families. The programme was introduced one week ago.

  • Cambodia armed with money laundering laws

    Money laundering will now carry a penalty of up to five years in prison while those convicted of financing terrorists will be jailed for up to 20 years, according to new laws promulgated by King Norodom Sihamoni and seen by The Post on Thursday. Comprising nine

  • Where is Cambodia’s exit strategy that can save the economy?

    With the prospect of being slammed by a double whammy, the government is working on an economic recovery plan to deliver it from Covid-19 and the EU’s partial withdrawal of the Everything But Arms scheme in the next two to three years Cambodia is

  • Schools to be reopened in ‘three stages’

    With guidance from Prime Minister Hun Sen, the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport, is in the process of reopening schools in three stages. But no timeline has been set, ministry spokesperson Ros Soveacha said on Thursday. Soveacha said the first stage will be to

  • Thai border crossings eased

    The Cambodian Embassy in Thailand said in an announcement on Wednesday that Thailand’s government has allowed certain passengers from several countries to enter its borders. The visitors must go back to their country immediately after their duties in Thailand are fulfilled, the embassy said.

  • Gov’t says tourism recovers slightly despite pandemic

    The Ministry of Tourism and the Phnom Penh municipal administration have recognised 33 tourism businesses in the capital which have consistently implemented safety measures for tourists and adhered to the code of conduct issued by the ministry. Recently, the ministry announced that tourism businesses had to