The Wall Street Journal’s Mike Ramsey has reported the Ford will be ditching the retro look for the Mustang. The replacement is said to be almost a double for the sharp new Evos that made its debut at last year’s Frankfort Auto Show.
We’ve already seen the Evos’ design language incorporated in the styling of the next-generation Fusion with good results and there’s no reason to think it won’t work for a new Mustang as well.
While some are concerned the new look might put off some buyers, the retro look that worked so well in 2005 has lost its magic and Mustang sales have taken a big hit, especially from the equally retro-styled Chevrolet Camaro.
The current Mustang’s styling cues are taken from the 1967-1969 Mustang, which were solid sellers though not quite the barn busters of the initial two years when Ford produced over 1.2 million Mustangs for an eager public. But Mustangs have sold well whether they had the classic sixties look or not. In fact, nearly half of all Mustangs ever produced didn’t have the two round headlight look some pundits fret won’t be retained.
Retro looks can be very successful: look at the Chrysler PT Cruiser or Chevy’s HHR. For that matter, the 2005 Mustang, the first with the with the “back to the sixties” look, saw a 43 percent jump in production. But the problem with retro styling is the follow-up. Chrysler and GM solved their problem the easy way: they simply discontinued the line, but the Mustang is a bit more important to Ford and is not nearly so expendable.
Ford has to do something. The shine wore off the new Mustang beginning in 2008 and production volumes are currently the lowest in the pony car’s 48-year history though they have risen 46 percent in the first quarter of this year. The “neo-sixties” look has been around longer than the original, which lasted only a few years. And it’s not likely that anyone wants a retro style based on either the bloated Mustangs of the early 1970s or the Mustang II.
Therefore, it’s time for a thoroughly modern Mustang and the styling of the Evos has all the cues one would want in a personal sporty car. Here’s hoping Ramsey is right and the Mustang will celebrate its 50th birthday with a whole new look.