The original pony car will return to Australia
FORD fans will soon have a reason to get over the loss of the locally made Falcon.
The iconic Ford Mustang will return to Australia after almost 50 years.
Muscled-up versions will replace the Falcon as Ford’s performance hero in 2016, the year the Falcon is axed. Sources have told Carsguide ‘‘ Mustang is a goer’’. Ford global vice-president of sales and marketing Jim Farley will fly to Australia to deliver the good news on August 13.
Farley is the same Detroit executive who spent the past three years deflecting media questions about the future of Ford’s Australian manufacturing operations.
Normally secretive, Ford is taking the unusual step of making the announcement early to try to reassure Australians it will continue to sell cars here despite closing its factories after 90 years.
Australia will not get the Mustang currently on sale in North America but an all-new model that’s been designed for global sales. It is due to be unveiled at next year’s New York motor show, the 50th anniversary of the Mustang.
Some countries will get a four-cylinder but it is understood Ford Australia will take only the V8 performance models.
The late 1960s was the last time a Ford Mustang was imported to Australia (as a right-hand-drive).
Ford Australia converted a small number of Mustangs locally between 2001 and 2003. They were rushed in to compete with the modern Holden Monaro but, at nearly $90,000, fewer than 400 were sold.
Ford won’t make the same mistake this time. The new Mustang is expected to have a starting price close to $50,000. In the US the basic V6 Mustang costs less than $30,000.
The new-generation Mustang has already been confirmed for Britain, which is likely to be the largest market for right-hand-drive models, with Australia next in line. RHD Mustangs are expected to account for less than 10 per cent of global sales so Ford Detroit is keen to sell in as many countries as possible to recover the extra engineering costs.
The Mustang will spearhead Ford Australia’s revived lineup at a time when it will likely be receiving gloomy publicity over its factory closures.
When announcing the closure of the Broadmeadows car assembly line and Geelong engine factory, Ford Australia boss Bob Graziano said the company would increase its model range by 30 per cent with more imported cars.
The arrival of the Mustang may persuade organisers of the V8 Supercars racing series to modify the rules to allow twodoor coupes to compete. Only sedans are eligible to race in Australia’s premier motorsport championship.
Racing legend Dick Johnson raced a Mustang in the 1985 and 1986 Australian touring car titles when Ford temporarily dropped the Falcon V8.