Dec. 05 - To mark the 50 year anniversary of the iconic Mustang, Ford unveils a new model aimed at luring a new generation of buyers. Fred Katayama reports.
A classic American icon nearly five decades old dons a modern look. Ford CEO Alan Mulally showed off the highly anticipated 2015 Mustang. It's wider, lower, curvier and sleeker than its predecessor, yet its shark-like grill and triple bar tail lamps echo the muscular look of its past. The sports car also sports new technologies. For example, you don't have to pull the keys out of your pocket to unlock the door and start the car. When it debuted in 1964, the Mustang captivated car buyers, spawning a new category - the pony car - and appearing in "Bulitt" and more than 3,000 movies and TV shows. SOUNDBITE: FRED KATAYAMA, REUTERS REPORTER (ENGLISH) SAYING: "The major challenge for the new Mustang: attracting a younger generation of buyers without alienating its core audience of baby boomers. Nearly 4 out of every 10 Mustang buyers is over 55 years of age, and they're set to retire." SOUNDBITE: ALAN MULALLY, CEO, FORD MOTOR (ENGLISH) SAYING: "We actually designed the vehicle based on the heritage and all the love people have for it. But we brought all the new enabling technology to be able to bring the latest freshest edition forward. And the response is telling us we hit absolutely the center of the bullseye on this." The Mustang has long been the sales leader among pony cars. But four years ago, the Chevrolet Camaro zoomed ahead, and it has never looked back. Former car analyst John Casesa, now an investment banker at Guggenheim Partners, says the new Mustang will retake pole position because it's a truly global car. SOUNDBITE: JOHN CASESA, SENIOR MANAGING DIRECTOR, GUGGENHEIM PARTNERS (ENGLISH) SAYING: "One, since the last Mustang was introduced, the Ford brand has much greater credibility. This company is back on track; people know it, and young people know it. Secondly, this car has the ability to be sold around the world. It has right-hand drive. It has small engines. The current car doesn't have that." The Mustang makes up only 3 percent of sales of Ford-branded vehicles, according to Edmunds.com. But the new buyers it could attract worldwide could also boost sales of its pricer performance cars.