50 Years Later, Ford's All-New Mustang Goes Global

Ford Motor Co. (NYSE:F) on Thursday started production of the all-new 2015 Mustang, which will be available around the world for the first time in its 50-year history.

The sixth generation of Ford’s iconic pony car is being assembled at a plant in Flat Rock, Mich. Ford plans to make the first deliveries in the U.S. this fall. Beginning next year, the Mustang will be exported to more than 120 countries.

“We’re celebrating 50 years of an American icon,” Joe Hinrichs, Ford’s president of the Americas, said on Opening Bell. “It’s so important to Ford.”

Ford is bringing new features to the Mustang, such as an independent rear suspension and EcoBoost engines. EcoBoost adds turbochargers to smaller engines, maximizing horsepower while achieving better fuel efficiency.

The Mustang will be offered with a 2.3-liter EcoBoost engine, a 3.7-liter V6 or an upgraded V8. The Mustang GT’s 5.0-liter V8 yields 435 horsepower.

Ford is on pace to launch 16 new vehicles in North America and 23 new models worldwide this year, including a redesigned version of the F-150 pickup truck.

The F-150 will shed 700 pounds by using an aluminum body, a departure from traditional steel-bodied pickups. Ford’s truck plant in Dearborn, Mich., is currently undergoing a revamp to build the new trucks.

“We’re investing heavily in new products. We think that’s a key part of our plan for the future,” Hinrichs said.

Hinrichs noted that consumer demand for new vehicles is very strong, despite tepid retail spending. When asked about Ford’s long-term outlook, Hinrichs said population growth is supporting sales growth even as Americans drive fewer miles on average.

“We don’t think Americans have fallen out of love with the car,” Hinrichs said. “People are using their vehicles in so many different ways. The new millennial generation is waiting longer to purchase, but they are purchasing when they get married or have children and have a family. There are some changes, but it’s still a very strong market here and around the world, especially in Asia.”