Matt Ramsey from The Wall Street Journal claims that the next-generation Ford Mustang will be ditching its '60s-inspired retro styling. Citing people familiar with Ford's plans who have seen the new Mustang, Ramsey claims the new model will look more like the 2013 Fusion and be a dead ringer for the Evos concept car that debuted at the Frankfurt Motor Show last fall. The reason for abandoning the retro-inspired styling, says Ramsey, is Ford's desire to appeal to Generation Y consumers – people born between 1980 and 1999.
It may very well be the case that the next Mustang, which Ramsey says will be a 2014 model (we suspect it will be labeled a 2015), will look a lot like the Evos concept, but we don't buy some of the author's reasoning for why the Stang's retro look might be going away. He cites declining sales of certain retro-styled vehicles like the Volkswagen Beetle and Mustang itself, but having just experienced an economic recession, many models saw their sales decline during the past two years compared to prior peaks, not just ones with retro styling. In particular, he cites Volkswagen selling just 6,468 units of the New Beetle last year compared with over 81,000 in 2000, but last year was that generation's final year of sales. It has been replaced with the all-new-but-equally-retro 2012 Beetle, sales of which are up 2,722 percent so far in 2012.
And as for the Mustang, after enjoying a competition-free pony car market from 2002-2010, it's now sharing that segment's sales with worthy competition from both Chevrolet and Dodge. Its sales are certainly below their peaks from last decade, but again, a recession and new competition where there was none before will do that.
So while we have no reason to argue against Ramsey's claim about the next Mustang moving away from its retro roots, we're not sure we buy his evidence for the reason behind it.