The upcoming Bronco will also have a huge role to play.
The Mustang and Bronco names are both iconic and well embedded in American culture, and according to Motor Trend, that's what Ford is looking to leverage. The names are also perfectly suited to use more in the American automotive landscape, which is shifting in different ways to the rest of the world. The shift towards crossovers has laid waste to the American passenger-car market more than others, while trucks are still dominating in the way they don't in other regional markets.
Ford's first step in evolving into the change was to announce the discontinuation of passenger cars, and that's a process that's continuing forward as Ford starts to emphasize what MT describes as "car-based vehicles with a different look."
One of those vehicles is to be an SUV that takes advantage of Mustang styling cues, but Ford knows it has to be self-aware when leveraging names with heritage. "We have to thread the needle on this really carefully because this franchise has just got such clarity that it is not going to evolve away from what its leverage is," Ford chief Jim Hackett told Motor Trend about the Mustang. "It's not going to be that. But there's a couple [of] derivations here."
With so much value and public awareness behind the Mustang name, it makes sense in using it rather than spending the kind of money needed to develop awareness for another nameplate, but Ford is right to be cautious about potentially watering it down.
The Bronco is also in line to get its own family along the lines of a sub-brand. The Bronco is likewise a huge name to leverage, particularly with the excitement generated from its imminent return. It makes sense to bring a 'baby Bronco' into the fold as well as a full-size version and create variants from there. Ford has also confirmed a more affordable midsize pickup is in the pipeline to slide in the lineup just below the crew-cab Ranger. It would be a new vehicle for Ford and could slide into the Bronco family. Ford's new partnership with Volkswagen is also in play, but not for the US in Ford's case. Volkswagen, however, does plan to bring a Ranger-based pickup to North America.
Ford is striving to make strong, positive steps to move through the new automotive landscape. At the same time, it isn't forgetting its sports car and is keen to build on its performance heritage as the Mustang goes from strength to strength.
Join The Discussion