Seventh-generation Ford Mustang pushed back a year to 2021

Reasons unclear, perhaps involving switch to new modular platform

  • Image Credit: Reese Counts

In a story encapsulating how Ford wants to inject more Mustang DNA into its wider lineup, Automotive News reported that the next, seventh-generation Mustang will be delayed "by about a year." We don't know the reason, but CEO Jim Hackett was said to be behind the move. It's possible the schedule change has something to do with the Mustang giving up its single-use platform to move to one of five new modular architectures, figured to be the RWD/AWD architecture planned for the next Ford Explorer and Lincoln Aviator. The next Mustang is now expected in 2021.

That's a rather uncertain guess about cause, though, because Ford's clearly had platform rationalization and parts-sharing plans for a while. The modular Explorer platform got outed in rumor four years ago and confirmed in January this year. In March, we spotted the 2020 Aviator show car at the New York Auto Show with a Mustang's rear suspension. Not a modified Mustang suspension, but the identical item, which we expect to be swapped out for beefier components come production time.

As long as designers can maintain the Mustang mojo they've had going for several years now, the platform switch should be a non-issue. The coupe's real trick has been backing up those popular retro looks with excellent driving dynamics, and that latter benefit shouldn't be harmed. The pony car's chief designer told AutoNews that the next version will "be a strong, well proportioned vehicle," and that the behind-the-scenes parts sharing is "not going to bastardize Mustang."

After that, a more full-featured platform gives engineers more possibilities, like the opportunity to create an all-wheel drive coupe that can stand on level with the AWD Dodge Challenger, or that might be used for special trims like the Shelby GTs. The ability to power all four wheels would increase control and sharpness in the face of stratospheric horsepower numbers and severe weight gain.

The same way Chevrolet took Camaro DNA to create a crossover that resurrected the Blazer name, the next Mustang will pour its heart and soul into an electric crossover. Ford teased the name Mach 1 for that EV people mover earlier this year, but a stampede of negative reaction appears to have forced a rethink. After that, as the last car standing in the U.S. lineup, and arguably Ford's greatest global icon, we should expect more Mustang cues to find their way to other models. If it's the Mustang with which Ford wants to paves the way, however, it remains unclear if the electric crossover will also be moved back a year to 2021.

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