Around The World, Ford's Mustang Fuels A Dream

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If American Mustang fans are hungry to see the new version, European fans are starved. Ford hasn't sold the Mustang there since 1979. i i

hide captionIf American Mustang fans are hungry to see the new version, European fans are starved. Ford hasn't sold the Mustang there since 1979.

Miguel Medina/AFP/Getty Images
If American Mustang fans are hungry to see the new version, European fans are starved. Ford hasn't sold the Mustang there since 1979.

If American Mustang fans are hungry to see the new version, European fans are starved. Ford hasn't sold the Mustang there since 1979.

Miguel Medina/AFP/Getty Images

Just about every Mustang owner has a story about how their love affair with the car began.

Laura Slider's story began the day a red Mustang appeared in the driveway across the street.

"I've wanted one ever since I was 15," she says. "It was owned by a very cute boy that I liked. And then we rode in it and it was very fast and sporty and fun and pretty, and I thought, I want one someday."

Now, decades later, she has one. And, yes, it's red.

On Thursday, Ford Motor Co. will pull the veil off its redesigned Mustang for 2015. And for the first time in its nearly 50-year history, the iconic pony car will be sold in every region of the world.

Mustang fans the world over are both eager and anxious to see what Ford has changed in this beloved American icon — including members of the Mustang Club of Germany.

If American Mustang fans are hungry to see the new version, European fans are starved. Ford hasn't sold the Mustang there since 1979. Club member Susan Wurm says the Mustang is different from most of the cars on the road today.

"Mustang gives the emotions," she says. "It's an emotion to drive the Mustang. It's special."

They're lining up their classic Mustangs near a little office that serves as the headquarters in Siegen, Germany, near Cologne. President Ralf Wurm is grilling up some wurst.

While Moygib Soori, Timo Schneider and Michael Sommer wait for the meal, they talk about their first love.

"I saw a picture from '66 Mustang, and that was it," Soori says.

"You put the window down and the arm outside, and you hear the V8 engine," Schneider says. "It's very cool."

"For me it started in childhood, and that Mustang Mach 1 from 1973, I think," Sommer says. "That's a dream car. That's the dream."

No pressure there, Ford — just a little tweaking with people's dreams. Bill Visnic, senior editor at Edmunds.com, says this makes things tricky.

"It is a danger. It's a difficult, difficult thing to redesign an icon. The Mustang is really the one car that Ford has to get right," Visnic says. "The biggest cautionary tale for Ford designers is alienating people too much with way too drastic, I think, of a change."

Almost no details about the car have leaked, but some purists are howling at the rumor that the new Mustang borrows some design cues from the Ford Fusion.

Visnic says you could do worse than echo elements from another pretty car. The Mustang has to evolve to stay relevant, he says. Coupes have a naturally short shelf life, and Ford has to attract younger buyers who may not have a classic Mustang memory from their childhoods.

But the company says there is one thing it did not do and will never do — downplay the Mustang's American roots, says Roelant de Waard with Ford of Europe.

"The Mustang's appeal was always because it was an American icon, and it stood for American freedom, and of course also American performance," de Waard says.

So the important stuff — the V8 engine with a throaty growl, the rear-wheel drive, the long, expressive hood — that's all here to stay.

On Thursday, the Mustang goes on a global stage, with simultaneous reveals in Shanghai, Sydney, Barcelona, Los Angeles and New York, and at Ford's headquarters in Dearborn, Mich. It will be a test of whether an icon created 50 years ago still has the power to spark dreams.

  • Ford introduced the Mustang, billed as a "low-priced, four-passenger sports car" in April 1964. Its sporty look and peppy performances gave it strong appeal to youthful car buyers. The first generation of Mustangs lasted until 1973.
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    Ford introduced the Mustang, billed as a "low-priced, four-passenger sports car" in April 1964. Its sporty look and peppy performances gave it strong appeal to youthful car buyers. The first generation of Mustangs lasted until 1973.
    AP
  • Seen here is a new 1976 Ford Mustang, part of the second generation of Mustangs that lasted from 1974 to 1978.
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    Seen here is a new 1976 Ford Mustang, part of the second generation of Mustangs that lasted from 1974 to 1978.
    AP
  • Reporters look over the limited edition 1993 Ford Mustang Cobra after its unveiling Feb. 6, 1992, in Chicago. This was part of the third generation of Mustangs that were produced from 1979 to 1993.
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    Reporters look over the limited edition 1993 Ford Mustang Cobra after its unveiling Feb. 6, 1992, in Chicago. This was part of the third generation of Mustangs that were produced from 1979 to 1993.
    John Swart/AP
  • The 2002 Ford Mustang GT Convertible is shown in a handout photo from the Ford Motor Co. in Dearborn, Mich. The fourth generation of Mustangs lasted from 1994 to 2004.
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    The 2002 Ford Mustang GT Convertible is shown in a handout photo from the Ford Motor Co. in Dearborn, Mich. The fourth generation of Mustangs lasted from 1994 to 2004.
    AP
  • The 2010 Ford Mustang, part of the fifth generation of Mustangs lasting from 2005 to 2014.
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    The 2010 Ford Mustang, part of the fifth generation of Mustangs lasting from 2005 to 2014.
    Sam Varnhagen/AP
  • The 2015 Ford Mustang was revealed Thursday at events in New York, Los Angeles, Shanghai, Sydney, Barcelona and its hometown of Dearborn. It goes on sale next fall in North America and will arrive later in Europe and Asia.
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    The 2015 Ford Mustang was revealed Thursday at events in New York, Los Angeles, Shanghai, Sydney, Barcelona and its hometown of Dearborn. It goes on sale next fall in North America and will arrive later in Europe and Asia.
    AP

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