Probably the last thing the world needs is another Mustang variant, but Ford's got to keep its retro pony mobile relevant. So after offering the coupe, releasing a convertible and then making eleventeen bazillion different versions to suit every conceivable taste, it's fitted the 'Stang with a glass roof that blends the lines of the coupe with a little bit of open air lighting.
Granted, the Glass Roof Mustang is not particularly innovative, but we like the effect both inside and out. There's a clean line of darkness that begins at the top of the windshield and sweeps up and over the roof into the hatch. Inside, it's essentially an over-sized moonroof, but when facing ahead, you can't tell that it terminates right behind your head. If the blaring sun threatens to burn your bald spot, a retractable cloth sunscreen is fitted right over the rear seat passengers that's closed with a quick tug.
FORD ADDS GLASS ROOF OPTION TO MUSTANG LINEUP, MEETING CUSTOMER DESIRE FOR MORE NATURAL LIGHT
- "Top" Choice: Mustang now offers customers three roof choices: traditional coupe, convertible and a new factory-installed fixed glass roof.
- Glass Roof Growth: Production of large sunroofs in North America has increased nearly 200 percent since 2003 and is expected to top more than 2.5 million units by 2013.
- Affordability: Available as a $1,995 option, the new glass roof allows Mustang customers to let the sun shine in for half the price of moving up from a coupe to a convertible.
The 2009 Ford Glass Roof Mustang provides a third roof option for customers and responds to their growing desire for more natural light. Production of large sunroofs has increased nearly 200 percent in North America since 2003, according to Just-auto. The growth is driven, in part, by consumers' daily commute time. The number of consumers with commutes lasting more than 60 minutes grew by almost 50 percent between 1990 and 2000, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
The new glass roof will be available as an option on both the V-6 Mustang and Mustang GT beginning this summer.
At $1,995, the new roof provides customers a less expensive option than a convertible, without compromising the coupe's versatility, headroom or climate-controlled environment.
"Mustang is an icon in our product lineup, and we are committed to keeping Mustang news fresh every year," said Derrick Kuzak, Ford's group vice president, Global Product Development. "As the automotive landscape becomes increasingly competitive, features such as a panoramic glass roof will help differentiate our products from the competition."
Nearly one out of every two sports cars sold in America is a Mustang, and it remains the best-selling convertible. The new glass roof addresses the fact that 62 percent of buyers in the sports car segment are interested in a sunroof or moonroof on their next vehicle, according to
J.D. Power and Associates research.
Mustang's Glass Roof is made of tinted privacy glass, which reduces both infrared rays and vehicle cool-down time by 50 percent. A manual roller blind is built in, allowing owners to further control exposure on sunny days.
The specially formulated glass also protects interior fabric material from solar radiation deterioration and discoloration by reducing solar light transmittance. To help improve acoustics and Mustang's interior quietness, the glass also features a layer of vinyl that reduces noise, vibration and harshness.
The glass roof Mustang is built like a coupe and has been developed to maintain the structural integrity of Mustang. The glass itself is safety glass, meaning that it shatters without sharp or jagged edges, like other automotive glass.
Glass Roof Mustangs will be assembled at the AutoAlliance International Inc. in Flat Rock, Mich. The unique glass is installed at Ford's adjacent vehicle personalization facility.
Like its coupe and convertible counterparts, the Glass Roof Mustang has endured a battery of tests measuring quality and craftsmanship.
During the development phase, production-level prototypes ran through a rigorous prove-out, including various water, air leakage, durability, squeak and rattle and vehicle dynamics tests. Top quality drives the development team – as evidenced by Mustang's first-in-its segment ranking in the 2007 J.D. Power and Associates IQS, VDS and APEAL studies.
"Quality is a continuous process. The whole team is passionate about it, which results in our paying attention to the smallest details," says Paul Randle, chief nameplate engineer. "Our owners have high expectations, and we always want to meet them – with strong features like this new roof option, quality and performance."
In addition to the new Glass Roof Mustang that goes on sale this summer, two other derivatives join the Mustang V-6 and GT in Ford showrooms early in 2008 as well as a special Mustang TV "star":
The Mustang Bullitt returns to the streets four decades after hitting the Big Screen and features the latest in Ford Racing Technology. Inspired by the original movie car, this modern classic is designed to deliver a perfect balance of power and performance for enthusiasts, delivering 315 horsepower and 325 pound-feet of torque. With limited production planned, Bullitt carries on the Mustang tradition of affordable performance and is arriving in dealerships with a $31,075 Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price.
The Shelby GT500KR arrives in time to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the original Shelby Cobra GT500KR, known as "The King of the Road." Building on the strong foundation of the Shelby GT500, the KR features a 5.4-liter supercharged V-8 with a Ford Racing Upgrade Pack and a SVT-tuned suspension. It is estimated to deliver
540 horsepower. The Shelby GT500KR carries forward the spirit of the original car – with 1,000 units planned for production.
When it enters the market this year, the 2008 Shelby GT500KR will play a starring role. Cast as the new KITT, in the remake of the TV show Knight Rider, the popular American television series, which ran from 1982 to 1986 and starred David Hasselhoff as Michael Knight, a kind of modern-day "knight" and his partner, an advanced Pontiac Trans Am with artificial intelligence. In the TV premier, the Shelby GT500KR will make its appearance as KITT in three modes – HERO, ATTACK and camouflage versions. The HERO is the standard 540-horsepower Shelby GT500KR and the ATTACK is a further modified high-speed version.
Building on Mustang's rich and successful racing heritage, Ford Racing will offer customers a new way to affordably race with the all-new 2008 Mustang FR500S. The car will be at the heart of the all-new Mustang spec series, the Ford Racing Mustang Challenge for the Miller Cup, and will make its debut on the tracks of North America in 2008. Built on the production line at AutoAlliance International Inc., the FR500S features a 4.6-liter 3-valve V-8 production engine that is produced by Ford and sealed and dyno'd at Roush Industries. The FR500S will retail for $75,000 straight from the Ford Racing parts catalog.
The 2009 model year marks Mustang's 45th year. Mustang was first introduced in 1964 at the World's Fair in New York with a price tag of $2,300. Ford sold more than 417,000 Mustangs in its first year.
Today, as the car approaches its 45th anniversary, nearly 9 million units have been sold.
Internationally, there are more than 250 Mustang enthusiasts clubs – more than any other vehicle – in the United States, Canada, Europe, Asia, South America and Australia.
Aside from its legion of loyal fans, Mustang also stands out for safety. The Mustang convertible is the first sports car and first convertible to earn the highest possible safety ratings in all New Car Assessment Ratings test modes performed by the U.S. government. The coupe earned five stars in frontal crash evaluations for both driver and front-seat passenger and in side impact for driver and rollover testing. It earned four stars for side impact for rear-seat passengers.