We know what the immediate future for the Ford Mustang looks like—a new Shelby GT500 later this year, and not too long after, a hybrid version. But the long-term plan for the Mustang is a little murkier. that we haven't heard a whole lot about a new Mustang because it's actually quite far away. An anonymous source speaking to the magazine said that a truly all-new Mustang might not arrive until the 2026 model year, while another guessed that it might not be until 2028 or 2029.
In the interim, Ford will reportedly roll out a heavily revised version of the current S550-generation Mustang with new bodywork. The Mustang hybrid was supposed to arrive with this mid-cycle refresh in 2020, though Automobile says it's been delayed to early 2022 now.
According to Automobile, the next Mustang—which is codenamed S650—will ride on Ford's new rear-drive CD6 platform, which underpins the new Explorer and Lincoln Aviator. Since this is an SUV platform, the Mustang will likely grow in size, potentially coming closer to the dimensions of the current Dodge Challenger.
So, what's with the long lifecycle for the Mustang? After all, hasn't the current S550 Mustang been around since 2014?
Well, as Automobile points out, this sort of thing isn't uncommon for sports coupes like the Mustang. Cars like this are expensive develop, and don't sell in huge numbers anymore, which means automakers have to stretch every dollar out of their platforms. Just look at the current Dodge Challenger, which has been around since 2008, and whose bones date back to the mid 2000s. Despite its age, Dodge doesn't seem to have a new Challenger in the works, and arguably, it doesn't need one since the car still sells relatively well. And just last month, we learned that Porsche is keeping the current 718 Cayman and Boxster around until 2023 or so.
Plus, Ford is investing heavily in electrification and autonomous car tech, so things like the Mustang get pushed further down the priority list.
This sort of thing isn't without precedent in the Mustang world, either. The Fox-platform Mustang debuted for 1979, received a heavy refresh and became the "SN95" for 1994 and stuck around until 2004. Plus, the last-generation Mustang was in production for around ten years.
So while waiting until at least 2026 for an all-new Mustang seems crazy at first, it actually makes a lot of sense. And at the very least, we should be glad that Ford is keeping the Mustang around as it switches its focus away from cars and towards crossovers, SUVs and trucks.