Ford unveils convertible version of new Mustang

DETROIT — Coming off the successful launch of its all-new 2005 Ford Mustang, Ford Motor Co. is preparing to show off the latest ragtop version of the legendary sports car.

Ford is scheduled to unveil the all-new 2005 Mustang convertible Wednesday at the Greater Los Angeles Auto Show and provide another glimpse at next week’s media preview for the North American International Auto Show at Cobo Center.

The 2005 Mustang coupe, which made its debut in Detroit last year, went on sale in October, one of several cars launched by Ford in 2004 as part of its self-proclaimed “Year of the Car.”

Because of late-year launches for many of the models, however, Ford’s car business was disappointing in 2004, falling 14 percent from the previous year.

A bright spot of late has been demand for the new Mustang, which saw sales up roughly 9 percent in December from a year ago — the best December for the model since 1979.

The new car’s design has received accolades from analysts and Mustang enthusiasts for effectively marrying design cues from the 1960s with modern enhancements. The three-element taillights, for example, harken back four decades. But the new 4.6-liter, 300-horsepower engine has more than 50 percent more power than the V-8 in the inaugural 1964 model.

The 2005 convertible is scheduled to go on sale in March. The starting price for the V-6 version will be about $25,000. The V-8-powered GT version will start at around $30,000.

The 2005 V-6 coupe’s base price is $19,570.

Ford spokesman Dave Reuter said convertible versions of the Mustang make up about 30 percent of the model’s total sales.

Compared with previous Mustang convertibles, the new version’s stiffer chassis has helped reduce squeaks and rattles and improve the ride and handling, the company said.


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