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Ford Mustang to lure tuners

Eco drive: Ford's 2.3-litre EcoBoost Mustang could prove popular with keen tuners looking to wring more from the four-cylinder donk.

Mustang EcoBoost to open Ford up to Asian performance-car buyers

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Ford logo10 Dec 2014

FORD is betting on the upcoming base Mustang four-cylinder turbo variants opening up the brand to a whole new set of customers who may have never previously considered buying a Blue Oval model before.

While the V8 coupe and convertible will be pitched at performance-car buyers who may have traditionally purchased an FPV Falcon or HSV Commodore, the accessibility and potential tuneability of the more keenly priced Mustang 2.3-litre EcoBoost means Ford will target consumers of Asian coupes such as a Toyota 86/Subaru BRZ or Nissan 370Z.

Pricing is still a secret of course, and will not be revealed until closer to the Mustang’s mid-year Australian launch, but speculation is strong that a sub-$40,000 price point is likely for the base EcoBoost coupe.

Speaking with GoAuto at the Ford 2014 Go Further future model and technology event in Melbourne this week, Ford vice president of product development for Asia Pacific Trevor Worthington highlighted the appeal of the EcoBoost variant to keen tuners.

“The V8s of course will always appeal to a certain group of people, and it’s about the history and iconic-ness and V8 sound and all that,” he said.

“But I have always maintained that the turbo will give us a whole new opportunity to talk to a whole bunch of different people – you know, that tuner group that always drive 2.0-litre turbo-charged Japanese cars.

“Now I’m not suggesting that it’s going to be the drifting car that everybody’s going to want, but that Mustang opens up a whole window to people who, to some extent would never be interested in V8s, but they’re interested in something with a lower entry price point.

“And (Mustang EcoBoost) is going to be different than all those other cars, and I’m going to be really interested to see what we can do with it.

Mr Worthington predicted that the Mustang would become something of a hero car in Australia, leveraging off previous muscle cars such as V8 Falcons.

“It’s a beautiful car, and I think in the some way that V8s and high-performance Falcons have had that halo over the brand, this is one of the products going forward into the future that gives us that halo.

“Everybody knows what a Mustang is, but the opportunity to redefine what that is in the Australian context is right in front of us.”

Ford Australia vice president of marketing, sales and service Graeme Whickman added that the Mustang EcoBoost versions would challenge perceptions about muscle-car performance coming at the price of economy.

“It debunks myths that consumers have when you’re talking about a car with that level of power, but also comes with fuel efficiency and some pretty impressive technology,” he said.

“Some of those things haven’t always necessarily gone hand-in-hand in the past, so this is a great opportunity for Ford to present this in a new light positively. And at the same time it is a very alluring vehicle – it isn’t one of the most talked-about vehicles in the world by happenstance. It creates some excitement.

“Yes, (Mustang EcoBoost) is there to polish the Blue Oval, but it’s also a credentialed car with an amazing product pedigree that I think will blow people away quite frankly.”

Finally, Ford Australia president and CEO Bob Graziano said the Mustang’s broader appeal is part of the reason why it has enjoyed a stronger pre-release interest from consumers than expected.

“It is an iconic brand… and the mere fact that we’ve got 15,000 people in this country that have said (they want more information as it comes to hand) speaks volumes about the enthusiasm there is around Mustang,” he said.

“I think it will bring new people into Ford dealerships that have not been to our dealerships before or for quiet some time. But they know about the brand and the cache that it has and they’ll want to come in and look at a Mustang.

“They may go out with a Mustang or may go out with another one of our products, but it’s a really good opportunity for us to bring a vehicle here that is known around the world and that clearly has a strong affinity amongst the Australian buying public to our dealerships.”

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