Visitors look at the Ford Mustang Mach 1, featured in the 1971 James Bond film "Diamonds Are Forever" on display during the opening of a press preview of the Bond in Motion exhibition at the Beaulieu National Motor Museum at Brockenhurst in the southern English county of Hampshire on January 15, 2012.
Ford unveiled its new Mustang today, in a splashy event that was undermined a bit by leaked photos that showed the new model's design in recent days. Initially introduced nearly 50 years ago, the Mustang is set for a global release, a first.
From Michigan Radio, Tracy Samilton reports for NPR's Newscast unit:
Ford designers say they took design cues from Mustang's heritage, especially the 1967 Fastback. Mark Fields is Ford's Chief Operating Officer. He says Ford didn't need to take global tastes into account because the Mustang already has universal appeal.
"We have over 5.5 million Facebook fans for the Mustang," Fields says. "I think that's more than Lady Gaga. And over half of those fans are overseas."
Ford will offer a four-cylinder Eco-boost engine in the Mustang along with the traditional V-6 and a V-8. The car will go on sale next fall.
Reacting to the new sixth-generation car, several media outlets are noting Ford's attempt to balance the car's iconic standing as an American muscle car with practical concerns such as fuel economy, which could make it a tough sell in international markets with high gas prices.
"The offering of a four-cylinder turbo engine signals a clear shift toward modernity and fuel economy," writes Jerry Hirsch at the Los Angeles Times, "though today's technology gives that small power plant a whopping 305 horsepower — equal to that of the vaunted 289 V-8 that powered the 1966 Shelby Mustang."
The option of a small engine size and the car's sleeker design are two features that analysts say are geared toward helping the Mustang appeal to buyers overseas.
But as several Mustang fans in Germany told Tracy for a report for All Things Considered, not all foreign buyers are tempted by smaller engines.
"You put the window down, and the arm outside, and you hear the V-8 engine......it's very cool," Timo Schneider said.
Others say they're still drawn to the car's heyday, which began in the 1960s.
"For me, it started in childhood," says Michael Sommer. "That Mustang Mach 1 from 1973, I think, that's a dream car, that's the dream!"
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