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Ford Mustang expands global reach in China and Australia, and now Brazil

Phoebe Wall Howard, Detroit Free Press on

Published in Automotive News

Ford Australia reported sales of 6,208 Mustangs in 2016, a total surpassed by 507 in just the first eight months of 2017.

More than 98,000 cars shipped out of the U.S. during the first year after the global launch. The 2017 data are not available yet.

Sports cars are a segment that requires constant attention, which is precisely why Ford is coming out with a freshened Mustang so quickly.

Designers took everything learned from 2015, when Ford consciously decided to make the car available around the world, and then tightened and enhanced every aspect. Carl Widmann, chief program engineer at Mustang, said consumers will notice changes to torque, steering and weight distribution.

"Visual appearance is king. So are aerodynamics and styling," Widmann said. "There's a performance sound, too. Some of our export customers are coming out of BMW and into Mustang for the first time."

The 2018 Mustang is being shipped from the assembly plant in Flat Rock, Mich. to U.S. dealerships now. The plant has made more than 300,000 Mustangs to sell globally, Schaller said. An estimated 80 percent of the buyers are male and the demographic is growing slowly to include more women and millennials.

Ford has expanded Mustang to 146 countries, with six including Brazil added this year. Antarctica is the only continent where Mustang isn't sold.

Chevrolet Camaro and Dodge Challenger remain formidable rivals on the domestic front. The Camaro RS went on sale in China this year.

"It was brilliant for Ford to make Mustang a global player," said Karl Brauer, executive publisher at Autotrader. "Now it's the No. 1 selling performance car in Germany, home to BMW and Porsche. Ford spent 50 years building up equity in the name and then unleashed it."

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