Ford's Brand-New Mustang Is a Good, Old-Fashioned Muscle Car

Ford’s Brand-New Mustang Is a Good, Old-Fashioned Muscle Car

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Ford’s all-new, seventh-generation Mustang.

Courtesy Mustang

An all-new Mustang from

Ford Motor

is here. This one isn’t powered by batteries, though. But it’s electric, nonetheless.

Ford

(ticker: F) unveiled its seventh-generation Mustang at the Detroit Auto Show late Wednesday. The sports car lives up to its brand heritage.

That’s saying something. Any new Mustang has a lot to live up to. It’s a 60-year old American icon. A green machine even had a starring role in “Bullitt,” with Steve McQueen behind the wheel. Today, there’s even a battery-powered model, the Mach E, which rolled out of showrooms in the tens of thousands after its introduction in late 2020.

Ford plans to secure this version’s place in the Mustang pantheon by racing it. “We are going back to Le Mans again with this Mustang,” said Ford executive chairman Bill Ford at his company’s launch event. (The film Ford v

Ferrari
,
of course, details Ford’s early experience at Le Mans.)

The new model is gasoline-powered, equipped with its classic 5-liter V-8 engine that can produce up to 500 naturally aspirated horsepower and go from zero to 60 miles an hour in a dizzying 4 seconds.

And for those drivers who like to be in control, or at least feel in control, Ford is offering the car with a six-speed manual transmission.

There’s also something for the more eco-conscious…or the gas savers. Ford is selling the car with a smaller, 2.3-liter turbocharged engine, called EcoBoost. Turbochargers help deliver higher power using less gas.

Don’t think this Mustang isn’t high tech, though, just because of its classic engine and a stick shift option. There are lots of digital enhancements, from advance driver assistance and customizable drive modes to over-the-air software updates and even a key fob that lets an owner rev the engine remotely.

Now, a word about the car’s styling. The roof line and tail proportions remind Barron’s—just a little bit—of a

Ferrari

(RACE) Roma. The front grill is larger and more chiseled, reminding buyers of the Mustang from days gone by. The 5-liter GT version also gets and hood vent.

“Both the EcoBoost and Mustang GT have unique styling cues that deliver on their promise of Mustang Performance,” said Christopher Walter, Ford Mustang design manager, in a statement.

Investors can be thrilled along with car buyers. The Mustang still sells well, but Ford has seen sales for the gas-powered model fall. New styling and features should help step on the gas.

In the U.S., Ford sold about 52,000 gasoline-powered Mustangs in 2021, down from roughly 61,000 Mustangs sold in 2020. This year, Ford has sold about 33,000 gasoline-powered Mustangs, down from about 38,000 over the same period of 2021.

Last year, the auto maker saw its sales drop overall. Sales in the U.S. totaled 1.91 million vehicles, down from 2.04 million delivered in 2020.

A new Mustang can be a small boost for shares—and Ford can use all the help it can get. The stock is down roughly 30% year this year; the

S&P 500
and

Dow Jones Industrial Average
are down 17% and 14%, respectively.

The loss reflects the legitimate worries of investors. They’re happy with Ford’s product lineup, but they can’t shake all that comes with scorching inflation—especially rising interest rates.

Inflation has the potential to squeeze profit margins through higher costs. And most cars are bought with financing. Higher rates threaten new car demand by raising those monthly car payments.

The reality: Ford is still between a rock and a hard place, even with a spiffy new Mustang.

Write to Al Root at [email protected]

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