Wednesday, October 20, 2004

It’s Here

The 2005 Mustang has arrived.

(The “Enlarge” button doesn’t work; it’s an artifact from the Ford website. Sorry.)

From the Miami Herald.

Cardinal Gibbons High School junior Danny Burkitt played hooky Tuesday, so he could be one of the first to take the keys to a 2005 Ford Mustang.

“You’ve got to get your priorities straight in life,” cracked Mike Jackson, chairman and chief executive of AutoNation.

Jackson was on hand at Fort Lauderdale’s Maroone Ford for the hoopla surrounding the rollout of the newly redesigned Mustang, which hit showrooms this week. Ford is counting on the Mustang to jump-start its car sales at a time when its share of the U.S. auto market has been shrinking.

Those wishing to own one may be in for a wait, however.

Beach Ford of North Miami Beach has a waiting list of about 50 buyers. Ford of Coral Gables has 70 buyers lined up, with about 20 having put down deposits. The Maroone Ford dealership expects to take delivery of 25 Mustangs through the end of the year, and they’re all spoken for.

Supplies are expected to be tight for at least a few months. Ford intends to produce 150,000 Mustangs this model year, including a soft-top version expected to roll out in the spring. It sold 140,350 Mustangs last year, according to Ward’s AutoInfoBank.

The Mustang’s arrival in South Florida has been preceded by a lot of hype. The carmaker hopes the buzz will draw buyers to showrooms and help pump up sales of its other cars, which have been overshadowed by its trucks and SUVs in recent years.

The 2005 pony car borrows heavily from its storied legacy, particularly the late 1960s, when the Mustang co-starred with Steve McQueen in the film Bullitt.

The 2005 model features a long hood, a short trunk, side scoops, bucket seats and dual-lighted analog gauges in the dash — the first radical makeover for the 40-year-old muscle car since 1995 and its first platform change since 1979.

I can’t wait to see what the convertible looks like. No, I have no plans to let go of my ’95, but I’m looking forward to the South Florida International Auto Show in November when I can actually sit in one of the new ones. Woof.