Ford Motor Company announced this week that its 305 hp 2011 Mustang 3.7-liter V-6 with six-speed automatic transmission was certified by the EPA at 31 mpg highway and 19 mpg city. Ford says the Mustang is the first sports car to achieve such high fuel economy ratings and the news could give the automaker an upper hand in its long standing battle with the Chevrolet Camaro.
The 2011 model Mustang will be available for sale this spring, and Ford reports 11,000 dealer orders for the car.
Industry consultant Jim Hall with 2953 Analytics in Detroit says the EPA certification of a 300-hp engine over 30 mpg is indeed a first.
Coming in right behind the Mustang in fuel economy ratings are the Chevrolet Camaro and the Lexus RX 450h hybrid. Camaro’s 3.6-liter V-6 achieves 29 mpg highway. The Lexus RX has a 3.5-liter V-6 with 295 hp and rates 28 mpg highway and 32 mpg city.
Chevy’s redesigned Camaro has outsold the Mustang for the last nine consecutive months. During February, 6,482 Camaros and 5,115 Mustangs were sold. However, Ford’s overall sales topped GM for February for the first time since 1998.
Muscle cars have always been a fiercely competitive segment for the Detroit automakers and it remains an area in which import brands have not made significant headway. Other segments still dominated by Detroit’s Big Three automakers include full-size trucks and SUVs.
Plans are to highlight the Mustang’s exceptional EPA ratings during the spring marketing blitz, when the new model will arrive in dealer showrooms.
Ford executives have already begun talking to reporters. At no other time in Mustang’s history”for that matter, in automotive history”have we been able to talk about 305 horsepower and 31 mpg. The Mustang truly is a no-compromises sports car, says Derrick Kuzak, Ford group vice president of global product development.
Ford’s marketing manager for cars and crossovers, Amy Marentic said a significant percentage of buyers have ruled out Mustang in the past, due to its low fuel economy. Ford’s new Mustang campaign will emphasize the new improvements in fuel economy as well as updates to the car’s interior. The Mustang is a very emotional car, Marentic said, but we’re going to give people a rational reason to purchase.
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