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First 2015 Ford Mustang Rolls off the Line at Flat Rock

The ManufacturerphotographerEric Weinerwriter

Spirits were high today at Ford's Flat Rock plant outside of Detroit, as workers and executives celebrated the first sale-ready 2015 Ford Mustang to roll off of the line. Clad in Race Red, the six-speed manual-equipped 2015 Ford Mustang GT stood ahead of a string of various Mustang coupes, including V-6, EcoBoost, and 50th Anniversary Edition variants.

Ford of the Americas president Joe Hinrichs stressed that the 2015 Ford Mustang will headline the Flat Rock plant's future. Flat Rock has been building the Mustang since 2004, but the facility also produces the Ford Fusion, of which it built the 1 millionth unit last year.

"Mustang is and will continue to be an automotive icon," Hinrichs said at the factory today. He and United Auto Workers President Larry Settles drove first 2015 Ford Mustang off the line and around one sharp turn to usher in a new generation of the pony car which started a sensation back in 1964. Since then, more than 9.2 million Mustangs have been sold globally.

The first 2015 Ford Mustang is already spoken for, after selling for $300,000 at a Barrett-Jackson auction in Scottsdale, Arizona back in January. Proceeds from the sale benefited the Juvenile Diabetes Research Fund.

The launch of the 2015 Ford Mustang last December marked a big update for the storied pony car. The biggest change was an upgrade from the long-held live-axle rear suspension to an independent rear suspension, while the front suspension was also upgraded. Base models of the 2015 Ford Mustang will continue with the aging 3.7-liter V-6 making 305 hp, while the latest iteration of the iconic Mustang GT's 5.0-liter V-8 sees its muscle grow to 435 hp and 400 lb-ft of torque. New to the powertrain lineup is a more fuel-efficient, direct-injection turbocharged 2.3-liter EcoBoost four-cylinder engine (also used in the Lincoln MKC), churning out 310 hp and 320 lb-ft of torque.

"With the demand we're seeing for smaller displacement engines, we're expanding our powertrain operations with that in mind," Hinrichs told reporters following the announcement. "Here at Flat Rock we plan to fully utilize two shifts, with available capacity for a third."

Hinrichs' initial projections are that sales of the 2015 Ford Mustang GT will be stronger than other models at first as enthusiasts rush to dealerships. For now only the coupe is in production; drop-top junkies will get their fix later when Mustang convertible production starts in a few months' time. The 2015 Ford Mustang will start at $24,425 when it officially goes on sale this fall.

"We couldn't be prouder of the Mustang," Edward Talbert, a material handling worker who has been on the line at Flat Rock for two years told Automobile. "That GT though, it'll always be my favorite. And who knows if I'll be here for the next 50 years, so this anniversary is a big one."