Separating Fact From Fiction Regarding The Next-Generation Ford Mustang
With all the talk and focus on the 2021 Mustang Mach-E lately, it almost seems like the actual Ford Mustang has been forgotten about. And undoubtedly that’s what really rubs the Mustang purists the wrong way when it comes to the Mustang Mach-E.
But I’m not here to talk about that or the Mach-E at all. Rather, let’s try to decipher some of the news that has come out regarding the next-generation Mustang, known as the S650.
Automotive News, one of the most respected authorities in the industry, reported that the seventh-generation pony car known as the S650, which will replace the current Mustang known as the S550, will launch in 2022 as a 2023 model year. That report seemed set in stone and like a foregone conclusion.
From a product planning standpoint, the S650 would have already been designed, approved and prototypes been built. In fact spy shots have captured a camouflaged new Mustang out on the roads.
Then Motor1 released a story that contradicts all of that information. I also have the utmost respect for Motor1, so to say it’s muddied the Mustang waters a bit is an understatement. So let’s try to apply logic plus add some information I have to get to the bottom of it all.
Everything I say below is my opinion, and is unconfirmed officially by Ford. I asked Jiyan Cadiz, Ford’s North American Icon Communications and Media Relations Manager to help answer some of the rumors and the response was to be expected. “While we don’t comment on speculation or rumors, we appreciate the enthusiasm Mustang brings,” Cadiz said.
I asked a few of my inside sources at Ford who will remain anonymous as they told me things off the record, to help me extrapolate some of the info that is out there to determine if it’s real or not. Let’s take a look.
Rumor #1: The Ford Mustang Will No Longer Have an Internal Combustion Engine
In the Motor1 story, it cited a YouTube channel that claimed Ford would eliminate all internal combustion engines (ICE) from the Mustang lineup by 2028.
This would most assuredly sadden and upset Mustang enthusiasts and would seem to be an ambitious goal for Ford Motor Company. Without question, gasoline engines will eventually be a thing of the past, but I was told V8s are still part of the near future by Ford.
Many states have passed regulations banning ICE by as early as 2030 which has a number of hurdles in the way that I won’t get into. Let’s just say 2030 and no ICE technology is a pipe dream for most of the United States.
With a new administration in Washington, EPA regulations are expected to be tightened. One Ford insider told me that auto execs were briefed in advance of what a Democratic administration could mean for the industry.
If these Ford execs saw the writing on the wall, it makes sense if they called an audible and decided to hurry up the timeline for an EV Mustang. They already have the blueprint in place with the Mustang Mach-E.
The report by YouTuber Autoline Daily says the new electric Mustang will be built at Flat Rock. That would take a significant time to set up an EV development as the Mach-E is being built at the plant in Mexico. This is where the report makes no sense to me.
Why would Ford develop an entirely new EV motor for the Mustang when they already have one for the Mach-E? In fact there’s the GT version as well, so they actually have two.
Final verdict on this rumor: I’m dismissing this rumor as false or at least not before 2030.
Rumor #2: Next-generation Mustang won’t come out until 2028
Part of the Motor1 story through the Autoline YouTube channel is that the S650 is now delayed until 2028. This would mean scrapping all of the work done thus far to get the S650 to Job One.
I spoke to an engineer for Ford who said that there was no truth to this. He said plenty had been done on the S650 and that it was proceeding as planned.
There have been spy photos of the S650 so that tells us how far this has been developed. Ford invests hundreds of millions of dollars in new development of a program. So it would be financially foolish to scrap what had been done.
What is more likely is that the rumored EV Mustang will not be part of the initial S650 launch. Without any firm confirmation, it’s merely speculative at this point when the S650 Mustang will come out. But since the current generation S550 has been around since the 2015 model year, waiting until 2028 would put the tail end of this generation at 13 years and that is quite long in the tooth.
We know Mustang sales have been tailing off, so riding out an old generation would be a poor decision. Even waiting until 2023 would put the current generation at 8 years old and that is about right. We shall see.
Final verdict on this rumor: I’m also dismissing this one as false. I say we see the next-generation Mustang by 2023.
Rumor #3: An EV Mustang is coming
This is barely a rumor as we know at some point, there will be an all-electric version of the original Ford Mustang. I don’t believe this will upset even the die-hard enthusiasts.
EVs have crazy amounts of torque and performance and the only thing an electric pony car would lack is the sound of a V8. While you can’t dismiss the importance of that to some, it wouldn’t be a deal breaker either. Just check out this article on the electrified Mustang Cobra Jet 1400 that ran a quarter mile in 8.7 seconds.
We also know a hybrid, all-wheel drive version of the Mustang is coming as part of the 7th-generation S650 design.
I do think eventually we will see an all-electric Ford Mustang (that’s not a crossover). And it will be interesting to see how well received that will be. And certainly how well the Mach-E does will likely drive the direction and future of the Mustang. In fact, I wrote that those who root for the failure of the Mach-E don’t actually care about the Mustang name or heritage. I believe the two are now tied together. If the Mach-E succeeds, it will benefit the Mustang pony car. Likewise if it fails, that will likely lead to the hastened exit of the legendary car.
Final verdict on this rumor, you can take this one to the bank. It will happen. It’s just a matter of time.
So, hopefully this helps clear some things up. My inside sources have been pretty clear that some of these latest rumors are nothing more than here say or a reaction to the new state of politics in Washington.
I despise politics and discussion of them, but you can’t also dismiss that if/when new EPA standards get put in, or a push toward some compromise of the Green New Deal that the Ford Mustang as we know it, with a growling V8 engine will eventually go away. But don’t write it off just yet. A lot can change and a lot can happen.
Let me hear your thoughts on this. There’s a lot of rumors out there. And a lot of speculation. I don’t have the answers, but would love to hear what you think might happen to the Mustang.
Jimmy Dinsmore has been an automotive journalist for more than a decade and been a writer since the high school. His Driver’s Side column features new car reviews and runs in several newspapers throughout the country. He is also co-author of the book “Mustang by Design” and “Ford Trucks: A Unique Look at the Technical History of America’s Most Popular Truck”. Also, Jimmy works in the social media marketing world for a Canadian automotive training aid manufacturing company. Follow Jimmy on Facebook, Twitter, at his special Ford F-150 coverage on Twitter and LinkedIn. You can read the most of Jimmy's stories by searching Torque News Ford for daily Ford vehicle report.