Ford Motor Company (NYSE:F)‘s Mustang and General Motors Company (NYSE:GM)‘ Camaro have been engaged in an epic muscle-car battle throughout much of the past five decades. The line has been drawn in the sand, and you’re either a Ford Motor Company (NYSE:F) guy or Chevy guy, no gray area. The rivalry is as strong as the MLB’s Yankees vs. Red Sox or the NFL’s Cowboys vs. Redskins. The Mustang came to market first in 1964 and enjoyed much success over its rival Camaro, which came out a few years later, and it continued to dominate the sales title for 31 of the 42 years in which both iconic muscle cars were both produced.
That trend has reversed in the past few years. Can Ford Motor Company (NYSE:F)’s next-generation Mustang bring it back to the top?
One problem Ford Motor Company (NYSE:F) will have is the difference in sales strategy. Ford CEO Alan Mulally has set forth a global strategy titled “One Ford” that has aimed to make sure any vehicle produced has the ability to sell globally. For the Mustang to sell overseas, it has to shed some weight and become smaller and more fuel-efficient — qualities that don’t go hand in hand with the iconic Mustang.
Fortunately for loyal Mustang fans, Ford Motor Company (NYSE:F) has a plethora of engine options that will give it the flexibility to appease many different markets. Power-hungry American consumers can still opt for the top-of-the-line V8, while consumers overseas can opt for a smaller turbocharged EcoBoost engine, which Ford said will be available for the 2015 model.
The difference is drastic. Consider that a standard 2014 model Mustang with a manual V6 gives 305 horsepower. The GT steps up to a 5.0-liter V8 producing 420 hp, and the supercharged V8 gets a staggering 662 hp — which is just outrageous. Disregarding the supercharged V8, the Mustang comes in a little behind the Camaro’s manual V6 that produces 323 hp, and using an engine it shares with Corvette will produce 500 hp.
Ford Motor Company (NYSE:F) loyalists can at last rejoice that the 2015 Mustang will finally get the independent rear suspension they’d been pleading for. I think the horsepower and torque matter less to which muscle car will win the sales crown, and the exterior design matters more — and the Camaro does get the slight nod recently in styling. It has shown in the sales.