American auto major Ford’s iconic Mustang has reached a major milestone as the 10 millionth vehicle rolls off an assembly line at a Detroit-area plant.
The car celebrated in American song and film, and recognized the world over as an iconic American cultural export, will get a big party at Ford’s Michigan headquarters.
It’s a turning point for the carmaker, which is banking on the Mustang’s wide appeal to help it grow global market share. US sales of the Mustang are dropping, but they are accelerating overseas in markets such as China and Germany.
To celebrate the Mustang milestone, Ford is appealing to the sense of nostalgia for what is seen as the original “freedom vehicle” that exemplified Americans’ love of the open road. After all, the car was named after a horse that roams free in the American West.
“I can think of no other American car that captures the love affair with the automobile that Americans have had… like the Mustang,” automotive historian John Heitmann of the University of Dayton told AFP. “It is as American as one can have an American product.”
‘A Freedom Vehicle’
The Mustang once germinated an entire subgenre of cars. From a technical standpoint, the original 1965 Mustang was not meant as a muscle car intended to attract those who gravitate to fast wheels. It was, in fact, one of the original so-called “pony cars” — a smaller, affordable, practical sibling of flashy sports cars intended to appeal to young professionals, including women. But the Mustang became an icon almost from the start, in no small part thanks to marketing that would rival a modern-day iPhone launch.
It debuted in the spring, at the 1964 New York World’s Fair, far before other companies announced their latest offerings in the fall. It was hyped up in advance and automotive industry journalists were on hand.