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Mustang extends sports coupe dominance to China

America’s pony car now best-selling sports coupe in China

with sales of the Mustang growing by 35 percent in 2017 compared to a ye…

Newsflash: People like the Mustang. For the newest version, Ford sent it abroad in a global selling initiative that is paying dividends. As it turns out, China is another one of those countries won over by the Mustang.

Sales in China of the Mustang were up 35 percent in 2017, making it the second year in a row as the top-selling sports coupe. There are 4,000 members of various Mustang owners’ clubs throughout the country.

Why is it so popular in China? For nearly the same reasons it’s popular in the United States.

“Mustang is the first car in my life, and it is unique like me.” – Miss Ru, Chinese Mustang owner.

That ownership trend continues to head upwards and more and more Chinese get behind the wheel of Mustangs.

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In just three years, since first galloping into China in 2015, the Ford Mustang has made sports car  dreams  come  true  for  thousands  of  Chinese  customers.  And  pony  fever  continues  to spread, with sales of the Mustang growing by 35 percent in 2017 compared to a year earlier, making  it  the  best-selling  sports  coupe  in  the  world’s  biggest  auto  market  for  the  second consecutive year.

The  Mustang  is  especially  popular  among  millennials  here  in  China,  particularly  those  born between 1990 and 2000.

“Many  young  Chinese  first  time  buyers  love  going  online  to  do  their  research,”  said  Dean Stoneley, Ford’s Asia Pacific vice president for marketing. “Our recent pilot with Tmall down in Guangzhou was a huge hit and all our Mustangs were rented in just 48 hours!”

What Chinese Love about Ford’s iconic pony car

For some, it is all about the rich American heritage that Mustang represents. Take Guo Xin, a race car driver, classic Mustang collector – he currently has three Mustangs in his collection, including a classic model from 1966 that he imported into China from America – and organizer of the biggest Mustang club in China.

“I recently drove with a group of Mustang Club members to Inner Mongolia,” says Mr. Guo. “We attracted a lot of attention with our Mustang fleet on the road. It is a very special sports car, filled with character and more than 50 years of heritage, and everyone can feel it.”

Mr. Guo also operates a garage in Beijing that repairs and retrofits Mustangs, and his strong passion  for  the  iconic  pony  car  drove  Mr.  Guo  into  setting  up  the  Mustang  Club  of  China 2011. Today, there are about 4,000 members in Mustang clubs throughout the country, and the numbers are growing every year.

The  Mustang  represents  something  new  for  Chinese  customers,  especially  for  the  younger millennial generation. It signifies freedom, independence and the desire to stand out from the crowd.  And  the  Mustang  is  attracting  more  female  drivers,  with  Ford  research  showing  a  10 percent gain in women buying Mustangs over the last five years.

Miss  Ru,  a  television  and  film  producer,  is  one  of  the  growing  numbers  of  female  Mustang owners who are enamored by the allure of the iconic pony car. “Mustang is the first car in my life, and it is unique like me,” says Miss Ru. “I like the contrast of a feminine girl driving such a masculine muscle car.” She adds that she was considering a luxury car as her first purchase, but was won over by the Mustang’s head-turning looks and aggressive stance.

The Mustang allows owners to express themselves, whether it be hanging out with fellow like- minded  Mustang  fanatics  at  club  meetings,  going  on  road  trips  throughout  China  or  simply customizing their own Mustangs in an individual way.

“Many  Mustang  owners  see  their  cars  as  an  expression  of  themselves,  and  the  younger generation wants to customize their cars to stand out,” says Mr. Guo. “The Mustang sits in the perfect  sweet  spot  of  contemporary  and  classic,  and  there  are  many  ways  to  truly  make  a Mustang your own.”

Ultimately, the Chinese love the Mustang because it is often the fulfilment of a dream – a dream of  owning  a true-blue American pony car.  And as the popularity of the Mustang  grows,  it  will continue to elevate Ford to even greater heights in China.

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Written by Chad Kirchner

In addition to Chad Kirchner's work here, he's a freelance automotive journalist for outlets around the world.


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