Ford Motor Company began assembling a right hand drive (RHD) version of the 2015 Mustang in its Flat Rock, Michigan plant for sale in foreign markets where motorists drive on the left side of the road. Customer deliveries will begin in November to RHD countries like the United Kingdom, South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Cyprus, Malta and several Caribbean islands.
Ford’s Mustang has been in continuous production since 1964 but the 2015 model is the first RHD version the company has produced. Earlier RHD Mustangs exist but Ford says those were aftermarket conversions. Other RHD models produced by Ford include the Probe, Taurus, Explorer, Maverick and Mercury Cougar.
Although many of the same parts are used in left- and right-hand drive vehicles, production is more involved than shifting the steering wheel from one side of the car to the other. Mustang RHD production line changes were part of a $555 million investment in Ford’s Flat Rock, MI plant. Those changes included adding a fully flexible body shop to allow multiple models to be produced on the same line.
Ford and Mazda jointly operated the Flat Rock plant from 1992 to 2012 under the name AutoAlliance International. The Mazda6 was assembled in the Flat Rock until Ford’s joint venture with Mazda was dissolved. Mazda 6 production ended in 2012. Other models built at the Flat Rock plant include the Mazda MX 6, Mazda 626, Ford Probe, Mercury Cougar and Ford Fusion.
Part of Mustang’s eventual success on the global stage will depend on giving customers the options they want and ease of ordering. While exported vehicles are often pre-configured – to reduce complexity, Ford says that won’t be the case with the 2015 Mustang. “We’re offering a full complement of orderable combinations,” said a Ford executive. “Customers will have a seamless experience. We’re treating right-hand-drive as if it were any other option.” According to Ford, the RHD Mustang will be available with an automatic or manual transmission, a V8, 3.7-liter V6 or 2.3-liter EcoBoost engine and as a hardtop or a convertible.
Orders on the books
According to Ford, nearly 2,000 RHD Mustang orders have been taken in the U.K. since January. Customer deliveries will begin in November, with extra supply secured to meet the greater-than-expected demand. Buyers in Australia have placed 3,000 orders and in New Zealand, 400 new Mustangs are on order.