Maybe Ford wants natural selection to weed out the bad Mustang drivers?
Ford has recently taken the time to refresh what it claims is the best-selling sports car ever, giving it a new look and a ten-speed automatic transmission among other gimmicky knick knacks. But if you ask foreign safety governing boards, specifically NCAP, it becomes apparent that the real changes should have taken place under the sheet metal. Months ago the organization awarded the Mustang a two-star rating after it was obliterated in a crash test and failed to prevent a crash or protect occupants as well as it should have.
One would expect Ford to want to remedy the issue as fast as possible, but Ford Australia's president and CEO, Graeme Whickman, told Car Advice that the Blue Oval feels no need to make a change. And why should it? Sales numbers are better than ever. Last month Ford sold 1,351 Mustangs, making it the best sales month on record for the pony car in the land Down Under. Whickman interprets that to mean customers don't think the Mustang is unsafe. "We've just had our biggest month ever, last month, on Mustang. And again, I don't want to harp on specifically about sales, but suffice to say that there are clearly a number of people out there who have an interest in the vehicle, and they're continuing to purchase it," said Whickman.
The fact remains that NCAP considers the Mustang unsafe, although that has nothing to do with a lack of chassis integrity. Instead, it's the fact that the Mustang is missing crucial safety assistance technology that has become the norm in newer cars. More troubling, as Car Advice points out, is the NCAP's mention of "insufficient inflation of both front airbags in the frontal offset test which allowed the driver's head to contact the steering wheel and the passenger's head to contact the dashboard." You can be sure that Whickman is losing no sleep about it, though. "We're confident about the safety of the vehicle, and we've seen no ebbing of the demand. We've seen, actually, our sales grow, and our orders have been very strong," he says.
Worry all you want, but at least it appears that Ford favors natural selection as a means to weeding out the countless bad Mustang drivers that give the muscle car a bad name. With any luck, the refreshed model will be safer than the old one so we can stop being so morbid.