Ford Motor Co. (NYSE:F) is launching the new redesigned version of its iconic sports car on Thursday, almost 50 years after the original Mustang was launched at the New York World’s Fair, in an attempt to spur the U.S. automaker’s worldwide sales.
The new Ford Mustang will be simultaneously unveiled in six cities -- Dearborn, Mich., Shanghai, Sydney, Barcelona, New York and Los Angeles -- on four continents on Thursday, the Big Three automaker said in a statement.
The company released photos of the 2015 Mustang, the new version of the sports car, also dubbed the “pony car” for its horse icon, which will go on sale late next year. This would be the first time the Mustang is officially being sold in Europe and Asia since its debut in 1964.
“Mustang is definitely more than just a car -- it is the heart and soul of Ford,” Raj Nair, Ford group vice president said.
The new 2015 Mustang retains the key design features of the original Mustang with its long sculpted hood and a short rear deck, but is equipped with modern engines and is groomed to look futuristic with a design that's tailored to appeal to a global audience.
“When you see it, you know it has the bloodlines of a Mustang but is designed for the 21st century,” Mark Fields, Ford’s chief operating officer, told Los Angeles Times.
The 2015 Mustang features a front that looks like a shark bite with a trapezoid grill and a tri-bar tail lamp that comes in a three-dimensional configuration. The vehicle is also available in three engine options, including a base model with a 3.7-liter V6 engine, a more powerful 5.0-liter V8, and a fuel-efficient 2.3-liter EcoBoost engine.
“We crafted this car with the goal of creating a contemporary interpretation of Mustang,” Jim Farley, executive vice president of Ford global marketing, said.
Although the second-largest U.S. automaker expects the car to sell the most units in North America, the car’s new design and features could make it popular in other markets as well.
"We kept seeing them show up even though we don't sell them in China, Australia and other places," Joe Hinrichs, Ford's head of North and South America, told Reuters on the sidelines of the Los Angeles Auto Show last month. "People (are) figuring out a way to get it into the country, even though it's not sold there, which tells you something."
The original Mustang debuted on April 17, 1964, in New York and gained instant popularity helping Ford sell more than half a million units of the model in 1965.
So far, the company has sold more than 9 million units of the muscle car, which enjoyed celebrity status in the 1960s after being featured in numerous Hollywood movies such as "Bullitt." The Mustang was also the inspiration behind the hit number “Mustang Sally.”
However, the sales of the Mustang, which once ruled the “pony” car segment, have witnessed a sharp fall in recent years.
General Motors Co's (NYSE:GM) Chevrolet Camaro, the Mustang's closest rival in the segment, has outsold the Mustang so far in 2013, and the latter's sales were down 7.7 percent to 71,459 units during the first 11 months of the year, while the Camaro's sales were down 3.8 percent at 75,552 units during the same period.