One Ford: Globalization of the Pony Car

[Friend of Hooniverse Thomas Hellmanzik is offering up a European perspective on the introduction of America’s beloved Mustang on his roads.]
The “One Ford” strategy has so far been a one-way road: the European-engineered cars such as the Fiesta and Focus were sent to compete on the American market, while the rest of the world still had to ring up Vandelay Industries if they wanted to buy a Mustang.
This summer, the iconic vehicle will be available at European Ford dealerships. That’s the good part. The bad part? €35.000 for the EcoBoost is not at all blue collar-friendly. Yes, the GT at €40.000 is an unbelievable deal, but for the average Joe, that version is virtually irrelevant with gas prices equaling $7+ a gallon in most of Europe.
Chevrolet Europe has been offering the V8 Camaro for the same kind of money for a few years now and you never see those on the road at all. Euros who can afford a gas guzzler apparently don’t want to buy American, no matter how brilliant the power to euro-ratio may be. I am sure that will be a bit different with the Mustang because of its iconic status and European looks, but the numbers probably won’t be glorious.

The Fiesta ST can be had for around $20,945 and the German list price is sitting at an equally affordable €20,540; if you are willing to buy one built for the Eastern European market, the prices will drop as low as €16,000 for a stripped out version.
A base Mustang EcoBoost has an MSRP of $26,125, so you can have it on the road for approximately 28 grand. The ‘Stang for the European market costs in excess of $40,000. It is better equipped than even the “EcoBoost Premium”, but that certainly doesn’t make up for a $12,000 difference. The cars are imported from the United States anyways (that adds a few Euros to the price), so what’s the harm in making the whole range of options … optional? Surely customers would sacrifice the 19” wheels, leather seats and other extras to get a much lower entry price.
Or would they? Even in the land of the glorious autobahn, there are tons of optioned out premium cars equipped with relatively weak motors. Who gives a crap about cow skin on the seats when you could trade it for a more powerful motor that is just as efficient?! Apparently, Europeans do.
Yes, currency exchange, importing costs, market differences and so on play a role in this. Still, Mustangs are about high performance for blue collar money. The pony car at €35,000 is still a good deal, but it’s simply not as affordable as its heritage dictates it should be.
Hoons of the Hooniverse, sharing your knowledge and opinion on the matter is encouraged. Let me give you some food for thought:
You can find Thomas on the web at the following locations: | @zAutobahnDriver)

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  1. JayP Avatar

    I wonder how many people cross shop the turbo Mustang to the Focus ST. I bought my ST at a firesale price but I would have bought a turbo Mustang had it been the same price <$20kUS.

  2. stigshift Avatar

    I have to say that being 17 days older than the Mustang, never since I have been a licensed driver have I ever wanted a then new Mustang. Plenty I would own used, but none I would have spent the cash on new. Until now. Even if I won Powerball amounts of money, I would still buy a brand new Mustang. There is just something about this one that just really hits me. Having driven a current Camaro SS convertible, I can assure you that I have NO desire to ever own one. At ‘6″3, with the top down, I still felt claustrophobic in it.

    1. ptschett Avatar

      From my perspective of an age difference also 17 units of time offset from the Mustang’s era (except that the unit in my case is years rather than days, and I’m that many years younger than the Mustang) I’ve found every generation to be interesting except for the Mustang II’s. (It doesn’t hurt that my 1st car was the long-wheelbase Mustang variation known as a 1973 Mercury Cougar XR-7.) I liked most every Mustang of the early era and of the Fox-body and following eras, and was thinking about buying a 2011 V6 w/ performance package till I drove a 2010 Challenger R/T and decided to follow that path instead.

  3. dr zero Avatar
    dr zero

    Down here, you would be looking at A$45K for the Ecoboost, and A$55K for the GT, or only slightly more than a Golf GTI. So it’s a bit of a bargain for us.

  4. Sjalabais Avatar

    I haven’t seen the Mustang in the flesh yet. Might have to do with Norwegian prices: 739000kr/85666€/94513$ for the EcoBoost with 11600€ extra for the automatic. The GT 5.0 V8 is 1229000kr/142472€/157000$.
    If “One Ford” would mean we could buy a Flex around these parts, with a sensible engine not that 250 or more hp monster, I’m sure it’d sell well here. Yet, “well” would mean a couple of thousand.

  5. Manic_King Avatar

    Yeah, hard to believe that people buying 2,3 or 4-series or, say, Audi TT or A5 will x-shop or even remember to check out Mustang, unfortunately. Then again, there’s Nissan 370Z where Mustang could easily take away last few buyers it has. And “wannabe- marlboro man” crowd will def. buy one to complement their shiny RAM or Tahoe if possible.
    Edit: I guess biggest comp. is from the same shop, Focus ST.

  6. Eric Rucker Avatar

    I’m wondering if taxation is part of it – don’t European car prices include the taxes? With the manual, the Mustang EcoBoost is rated at 179 g/km CO2, according to the German site (I don’t need to know much German to find the stats, at least.)
    A Focus ST is at 158 g/km (although on the German site, looks like the same efficiency class, D), and there’s also a ST TDCI at 110 g/km in class A (does anyone actually buy that one?). For VW, there’s the GTI at 139 g/km in class C, GTD at 109 g/km in class A, and the best Golf R is at 159 g/km in class D.
    However, if you want RWD… the GT86 is at 181 g/km and efficiency class F for manual (automatic’s far better, but who wants an automatic GT86?), the best 370Z is at 245 g/km in efficiency class G, and if you actually want to beat the Mustang with a manual… a Z4 (any engine) is at 159 g/km in efficiency class D (granted, the Z4 that’s the same price is the 156 PS one), the best 228i is 148 g/km in efficiency class C (not sure if that’s a manual, though).
    So, hmm, looks like it really is just Ford pricing something that’s known for dirt cheap performance sky-high in Europe for whatever reason.

    1. César Grau Avatar
      César Grau

      Indeed, Eric, car prices in Europe usually include all applicable taxes, the biggest of them being the Value Added Tax (VAT) which is 20 to 25 percent, depending on the country. So that €35.000 list price becomes about €26k – 27k in US equivalent prices, which isn’t that bad, considering the boat trip, etc. I don’t think Ford expects to make much money on the Mustang in Europe.

  7. fede Avatar

    where I live, if the mustang ever comes, it will be about 90k US dollars, which is what the camaro ss goes for. the challenger is touching 100k. and when toyota started selling the gt86, they wanted 75k for it. (never saw one on the street). so quite expensive, but this is a very different market. only 50k cars are sold a year, I’m guessing it wouldn’t take much to sell that amount of mustangs in the US, probably only some months.
    I would say that there is no way the sell any 2.3 turbos. a 2.3 engine is considered big here (1.3 dollars a liter of fuel), and only people with money who “want” a mustang will buy it, so 5.0!.

  8. Krautwursten Avatar

    Americans underestimate the logistical challenge that driving a large car elsewhere in the world entails. The Mustang is 4.78m long and 1.92m wide for what’s basically a 2+2 seater, that’s almost 15cm (6in) longer and a whole 10cm (4in) wider than a BMW 4 Series. I really wouldn’t want to daily drive something this chubby, and my town isn’t even particularly crammed, It’s just the standard lane widths and parking lot dimensions. Sure you could if you really wanted to, there are a couple guys in the area daily driving Dodge Rams, but why would the average person?

  9. PotbellyJoe★★★★★ Avatar

    I don’t think the challenge is price. I just don’t. It’s actually priced pretty fairly compared to the other products. The Mustang isn’t that cheap even to Americans right now. The new one is a better car, with better tech and more premium items included.
    In fact I would say that a cheaper version of the Mustang would have a more difficult time selling because it has no premium feel to it.
    What hurts the Mustang in Europe is that it is a Mustang in Europe. There is a reason the Capri was the de facto RWD Ford in Europe for 20 years. It was smaller, lighter and less powerful, but proportionately so. This will fall into the category that the Corvette falls into, or the Vauxhall Monaro did, people who want throaty V8s in performance vehicles. There’s three of these people in Europe.
    I don’t think it will be the flop that the Camaro is, simply because a Mustang carries a bit more lore than a Camaro does, but I think Ford would have done themselves a favor by building a 7/8 Mustang and calling it a Capri.