Manufactured for the first time in 1964, the Mustang has become the definition of American muscle, proving to be one of the most popular classic cars alongside the Dodge Charger and Chevrolet Corvette.
“Nothing truly personifies American car collector’s pride, passion and freedom like a muscle car,” said ClassicCars.com President and CEO Roger Falcione. “They are powerful, beautiful, designed for maximum performance. Tastes evolve regionally, but the staples of the performance car market have remained constant, and that is why we believe values continue to be so strong for cars like the Charger and Mustang.”
The Starring Role: Mustang Movie Mania
In 1968, just four years after the Mustang’s debut, Bullitt hit the theaters, spreading the thrilling tale of Senator Walter Chalmers chasing mob boss Pete Vic. In an iconic and wild car chase, the Bullitt Mustang, driven by Steve McQueen, set the standard for chase scenes in Hollywood.
Because of the Bullitt’s legendary status, Ford made Bullitt replicas in 2001, 2008, 2018 and now again in 2019, honoring the Bullitt’s iconic Highland Green shade.
Since the ‘60s, the Mustang has played a significant role in numerous films like the Fast & Furious franchise, I Am Legend, Transformers, the original Charlie’s Angels, The Princess Diaries, Back to the Future II and a handful of James Bond flicks.
Positioning the Mustang in films helped develop its desirability. The sleek sports car can easily portray an exciting, high-adrenaline lifestyle when Bond is behind the wheel. “Mustang has been in thousands of movies and games and television shows,” said Jim Owens, Performance Marketing Manager at Ford. “What we like to do for our advertising and marketing is to actually get people to be behind the wheel of the car to feel that visceral performance that this vehicle can deliver.”
Starting Fans Young: The LEGO Collaboration
Mustang marketing doesn’t stop at the theaters. The LEGO Group and Ford partnered to produce a customizable 1967 Ford Mustang model. Made of 1,471 pieces, the LEGO Mustang is predicted to be popular among LEGO fans and Mustang fans alike, spreading across numerous demographics.
The Ford Mustang LEGO model includes working steering, dark-blue bodywork with iconic white racing stripes, a printed Mustang grille badge, GT emblems and five-spoke rims.
“The Ford Mustang is one of the most iconic, symbolic cars in history — and to bring this fan favorite muscle car to life in brick form, with this level of customization, has been exhilarating,” said Design Lead for LEGO Creator Expert Jamie Berard as he expressed excitement about getting the product into consumers’ hands. The model will come with customization options like a supercharger, exhaust pipes, nitrous oxide tank, front chin spoiler and rear ducktail spoiler, so consumers can build unique sports cars.
Owens said, “There are few cars on the road that are as instantly recognizable as the Ford Mustang, and it’s exciting to see the iconic car’s combination of design and heritage come through in this LEGO set.”
Updated Demographics: Mustang’s New Fans
Aging like fine wine, the Mustang appeals to fans of every demographic. Corey Holter, Ford Group Marketing Manager for North American Cars, noted that the Mustang is the top-selling sports car among both the growing population of Hispanic Americans and Millennials, a demographic who have been tough to sell on the idea of owning a car.
And since the 2015 model, the Mustang has been answering to its global fans. Before 2015, the Mustang was only sold in North America, but Ford began exporting to 140 markets worldwide four years ago.
Holter said, "Being such an iconic car and being in so many movies, people know what it [the Mustang] is. Since the launch of the 2015 Mustang, we have sold 350,000 cars globally, outside of the U.S. A lot of these countries have Mustang clubs and devoted fans. To be able to get the Mustang, not just old, or through grey market imports, but direct from the factory, is big to a lot of these folks. So we are seeing sales absolutely take off in some of these markets."
The Mustang is the top-selling sports car overall in the U.S. and worldwide, proving it serves a diverse consumer base. While there are no sports cars on the list of top 25 cars on the road in the U.S., the Mustang ranks in at #26.
The beloved Mustang is an American classic. Sometimes the love for this car is passed down through families. Other times, it’s developed through the car’s creative marketing strategies, like the LEGO Mustang.
The adoration of this car has been strategized and cultivated through product placement in iconic movies, reaching young girls through The Princess Diaries as Princess Mia drove her ‘Stang through the streets of San Francisco and appealing to men as Steve McQueen raced his Bullitt, bouncing over hill after hill, in the same city. The Mustang, lustrous and desired as ever, is the top sports car, thanks to Ford’s automotive marketing.