A Ford factory in Flat Rock, Michigan, may be in jeopardy because sales of the Ford Mustang had slipped compared to its rival, the Chevrolet Camaro. According to Automotive News, dropping sales of the Mustang mean Ford may not be able to sustain its Flat Rock facility.
The Flat Rock plant, called AutoAlliance International, was originally a joint-venture between Ford and Mazda, which most recently built both the Mazda 6 sedan and the Mustang pony car. Mazda recently announced it would pull out from Flat Rock, and coupled with falling Mustang sales volume, Automotive News reports Ford is increasingly unlikely to take advantage of the factory’s full capacity.
Sales of the Chevrolet Camaro outstripped those of the Ford Mustang in 2010. For the first five months of 2011, Chevrolet sold 40,275 Camaros, whereas Ford moved just 30,206 Mustangs. The Camaro is even more appealing now that it offers a convertible body style. According to AN, the Mustang is the most common trade-in vehicle for buyers of the new Camaro.
The Mustang’s slow sales can be partly attributed to scarcity of the car’s 3.7-liter V-6 engine. AN reports that Ford has been struggling to keep up with demand for the fuel-efficient engine offering, which also recently joined the options list for the Ford F-150 truck. About 51 percent of Mustangs are sold with a V-6 engine.
If sales continue at this pace or slow down, AutoAlliance International could be in trouble. “The Mustang on its current sales pace isn’t enough to sustain Flat Rock,” J.D. Power analyst Jeff Schuster told AN. Presently, Ford’s Flat Rock plant is home to just 1763 employees and runs only one assembly shift.
The next Ford Mustang is expected to debut by 2014, and will perhaps be a “global Mustang” (i.e. it may be sold in both Europe and Australia) to appease Ford’s “One Ford” mantra, and also help boost sales volumes.
With the Mazda 6 gone from Flat Rock, Ford reportedly has more space and capacity to build higher volumes and more variants of the next-generation Mustang. What variants would you like to see? Is there an engine choice or a bodystyle you’d particularly like Ford to consider? Send us your thoughts in the comments section below.
Source: Automotive News