jueves, 17 de febrero de 2011

Mustang fever in Europe

When I first saw the current-gen Mustang I was impressed. The front end had personality, aggressiveness, beauty. However, the first questions I asked myself involved power and fuel economy. Those are the questions I am frequently asked when talking about it. In a land where cars do at least 30mpg and rarely produce more than 200bhp, Mustang's figures were impressive.

There is no passion for hypermiling in Europe. There is a need. Depending on the country, regular gas can go anywhere from 6 to 8 UDS a gallon. Expect 10% more for premium gas. So, except for the rich and wealthy, everyone is trying to save fuel in good old Europe. A cheap car with horrid fuel economy makes no sense here. In fact, many expensive cars have great fuel economy. Because, you want some money from your old car when you buy a new one, don't you? So, when you spend 50 grand on your car, you go for the diesel, get 35mpg and still get something out of it when you get rid of it.

Motor journalists have told us that Europeans require good rear suspensions, because there are lots of twisting roads, our cities have ancient streets and many other weird reasons. Sure, we like a firm ride. We've driven the Citroën 2CV and we know that while fun, it's not exactly safe to drive around corners with ultra soft suspensions. So, once again, Mustangs seem to be out of place in Europe, but they keep swimming to our shores.

Ford doesn't import the Mustang in European markets because they've realised their beautiful pony car doesn't make much sense in Europe. That's what everybody should think. The Mustang I saw a few years back was a rare exception. Except it wasn't. Mustangs are becoming more and more popular in our cities. They are cool. They look great. And they are rare. Well, not so much these days, but at least they are still exotic.

Since Ford doesn't import Mustangs officially, there is no figure to know how many of them are sold. But it's easier to see a Mustang than a Corvette. And Corvettes are officially imported. Camaros will also be imported officially, maybe because of the weird Mustang success.

Importing a Mustang isn't very easy. There's a lot of paperwork to do, since no one has homologated the model. There are shipping costs, marketing costs, and the added difficulty to find a company to insurance it. According to ads, a V6 Mustang is around 40.000 € and a good V8 one 50.000 (55.000 to 70.000 USD). That is an awful lot of money, especially when you realise that you can get a proper Mustang for 30 grand in the USA.

Perhaps the reason why people buy Mustangs in Europe is because they aren't cheap. They are exclusive. Expensive and difficult to buy, expensive and difficult to run, expensive and difficult to insure. We've seen it in movies, we've liked it, and now we are buying it. Well, at least the rich an wealthy do.

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