If you think of Ford as just an American automaker, think again. The switchgear inside the new Explorer, for example, was designed in Germany and heavily influenced by Audi. The new Ford Ranger, which we won’t get in the United States, was designed in Australia with input from Ford’s European design studio. Even the iconic Mustang, which is closing in on its 50th anniversary, isn’t immune to styling input from Ford design teams across the globe. Before you take up pitchforks and torches and march on Dearborn, consider a few things: Ford is well aware of the Mustang brand’s value, so they will review any proposed design changes very carefully before green-lighting them. Also, take a look at the Mustang’s interior materials and controls compared to the Explorer; personally, I’d welcome a European-influenced change or two inside the ‘Stang.
The final decisions on any styling changes are up to J Mays and his design team. Mays is a fan of the current Mustang’s retro styling, and he also recognizes the significance of the brand’s 50th anniversary. I don’t have any inside information, but I’d expect to see a 50th anniversary Mustang, with refreshed but similar styling, hit the market in 2014 as a 2015 model. In between, I wouldn’t be a bit surprised to see a Mach One Mustang, aimed at the quarter-mile crowd, and perhaps even a Mustang SVO (allegedly “confirmed” by Bill Ford last month). The SVO leaves me scratching my head, because there isn’t any advantage to using the 365 horsepower EcoBoost V6 from the Taurus SHO over the existing 5.0 liter Coyote V8 in the Mustang GT. The EcoBoost motor is actually some 50 pounds heavier than the aluminum block V8, makes 47 less horsepower and 40 less ft lb of torque, and would only deliver a marginal improvement in fuel economy. No one buys a performance oriented Mustang for fuel economy, so unless Ford has some serious tricks up their EcoBoost sleeve, I’m not sure where a Mustang SVO would fit into the product line.