DEARBORN, Mich. - Hot on the heels of the new Ford Bullitt Mustang andthe new Shelby GT500KR, America's favorite muscle car drives into its45th anniversary year sporting a new factory-installed glass roof.
The 2009 Ford Glass Roof Mustang provides a third roof option forcustomers and responds to their growing desire for more natural light.Production of large sunroofs has increased nearly 200 percent in NorthAmerica since 2003, according to Just-auto. The growth is driven, inpart, by consumers' daily commute time. The number of consumers withcommutes lasting more than 60 minutes grew by almost 50 percent between1990 and 2000, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
The new glass roof will be available as an option on both the V-6 Mustang and Mustang GT beginning next summer.
* "Top" Choice: Mustang now offers customersthree roof choices: traditional coupe, convertible and a newfactory-installed fixed glass roof.
* Glass Roof Growth: Production of largesunroofs in North America has increased nearly 200 percent since 2003and is expected to top more than 2.5 million units by 2013.
* Affordability: Available as a $1,995option, the new glass roof allows Mustang customers to let the sun shinein for half the price of moving up from a coupe to a convertible.
At $1,995, the new roof provides customers a less expensive option than a convertible, without compromising the coupe's versatility, headroom orclimate-controlled environment.
"Mustang is an icon in our product lineup, and we are committed to keeping Mustang news fresh every year," said Derrick Kuzak, Ford's groupvice president, Global Product Development. "As the automotive landscapebecomes increasingly competitive, features such as a panoramic glassroof will help differentiate our products from the competition."
Nearly one out of every two sports cars sold in America is a Mustang,and it remains the bestselling convertible. The new glass roof addressesthe fact that 62 percent of buyers in the sports car segment areinterested in a sunroof or moonroof on their next vehicle, according toJ.D. Power and Associates research.
Mustang's Glass Roof is made of tinted privacy glass, which reduces bothinfrared rays and vehicle cool-down time by 50 percent. A manual rollerblind is built in, allowing owners to further control exposure on sunnydays. The specially formulated glass also protects interior fabric material from solar radiation deterioration and discoloration byreducing solar light transmittance. To help improve acoustics and Mustang's interior quietness, the glass also features a layer of vinyl that reduces noise, vibration and harshness.
The glass roof Mustang is built like a coupe and has been developed to maintain the structural integrity of Mustang. The glass itself is safetyglass, meaning that it shatters without sharp or jagged edges, like other automotive glass. Glass Roof Mustangs will be assembled at theAutomotive Alliance International plant in Flat Rock, Mich. The unique glass is installed at Ford's adjacent vehicle personalization facility.
Like its coupe and convertible counterparts, the Glass Roof Mustang hasendured a battery of tests measuring quality and craftsmanship.
During the development phase, production-level prototypes ran through a rigorous prove-out, including various water, air leakage, durability,squeak and rattle and vehicle dynamics tests. Top quality drives the development team - as evidenced by Mustang's first-in-its segmentranking in the 2007 J.D. Power and Associates IQS, VDS and APEAL studies.
"Quality is a continuous process. The whole team is passionate about it, which results in our paying attention to the smallest details," saysPaul Randle, chief nameplate engineer. "Our owners have high expectations, and we always want to meet them - with strong features like this new roof option, quality and performance."
In addition to the new Glass Roof Mustang that goes on sale next summer, two other derivatives join the Mustang V-6 and GT in Ford showroomsearly in 2008:
* The Mustang Bullitt returns to the streets four decades after hitting the Big Screen and features the latest inFord Racing Technology. Inspired by the original movie car, this modern classic is designed to deliver a perfect balance of power andperformance for enthusiasts, delivering 315 horsepower and 325 pound-feet of torque. With limited production planned, Bullitt carrieson the Mustang tradition of affordable performance with a $31,075 Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price.
* The Shelby GT500KR arrives in time to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the original Shelby Cobra GT500KR, known as "The King of the Road." Building on the strong foundation of the Shelby GT500, the KR features a 5.4-liter supercharged V-8 with a Ford Racing Upgrade Pack and a SVT-tuned suspension. It is estimated to deliver 540 horsepower. The Shelby GT500KR carries forward the spirit of the original car - with 1,000 units planned for production.
The 2009 model year marks Mustang's 45th year. Mustang was first introduced in 1964 at the World's Fair in New York with a price tag of $2,300. Ford sold more than 417,000 Mustangs in its first year.
Today, as the car approaches its 45th anniversary, nearly 9 million units have been sold. Internationally, there are more than 250 Mustang enthusiasts clubs - more than any other vehicle - in the United States, Canada, Europe, Asia, South America and Australia.
Aside from its legion of loyal fans, Mustang also stands out for safety. The Mustang convertible is the first sports car and first convertible toearn the highest possible safety ratings in all New Car Assessment Ratings test modes performed by the U.S. government. The coupe earnedfive stars in frontal crash evaluations for both driver and front-seat passenger and in side impact for driver and rollover testing. It earnedfour stars for side impact for rear-seat passengers.