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10 reasons why the Ford Mustang is the world’s biggest-selling sports coupe

By Paul Connolly

Ford bosses are celebrating after the Mustang was proclaimed the world’s best-selling sports coupe for the third year in a row.

But why is a car that’s not exactly a regular sight on our roads here, be a world-beater?

Well, we’ll explore the reasons and details below, but safe to say it’s because the Mustang has attitude, history, personality… and is brilliant to drive.

More: Video: BMW announces mass recall of cars - which models are affected? 

Ford sold 125,809 Mustang coupes and convertibles around the world last year, including 2,211 in the UK.

According to a Ford analysis of IHS Markit global light vehicle registration data, the figures show the Mustang is the best-selling sports coupe on the planet for the past three years.

Which is actually brilliant, given that official global exports of the quintessential American car only began three years ago.

Although generally viewed as a classic American muscle car, Ford sold 13,100 Mustangs in Europe in 2017, and 35,000 since introducing the iconic car to Europe in 2015.

“The world is falling in love with the Mustang,” claims Ford’s Erich Merkle.

 “Mustang represents the best of American design, performance and freedom, with an unmistakable personality that’s appeals – regardless of your post code.”

Well, he would say that, wouldn’t he: Mr Merkle works for Ford. But nevertheless he is right.  The Mustang has endured down the years, and more than that, it’s prospering in a tough and increasingly competitive global environment.

Of the nearly 126,000 vehicles registered worldwide, Ford reported 81,866 of those were registered in the United States where Mustang is manufactured, meaning just over one-third of all Mustang registrations are occurring in export markets.

Demand is particularly strong in China, where the Mustang was the best-selling sports coupe last year based on 7,125 registrations.

Since global exports began in 2015, through December 2017, Ford has sold 418,000 Mustangs around the world.

Here are 10 reasons why the Mustang has become a US automotive export champ:

1. Because of its history: the Mustang created the ‘pony car’ class of US muscle cars back in 1964, basically sporty coupes with long bonnets and short rear ends that were affordable by ordinary working people

2. What it stands for: it represents the best of American design, performance and freedom – that’s what the manufacturers believe at least, and the market certainly appears to agree

3. Its sheer global reach: the Mustang was sold in 146 countries around the world last year

4. That throaty big engine: the most popular configuration worldwide is the Mustang GT with the 5.0-litre V8

5. The 2017 refresh – and  another one this year: the styling was overhauled; and this year a new revamp features a more athletic exterior design, and an improved cabin with soft-touch materials and 12-inch digital instrument cluster

6. Improved driving dynamics: better powertrains include Ford's 450 PS 5.0-litre V8 and 10-speed auto transmission for 0-62 mph acceleration in 4.3 seconds

7. Advanced driving technologies: include MagneRide adjustable suspension and selectable Drive Modes

8. A smart new exhaust note: the Active Valve Performance Exhaust delivers an innovative Good Neighbour Mode for early-morning or late-night driving (note to other manufacturers: you should all innovate like this, it’s actually very good practice)

9. New driver assistance technologies: these include Pre-Collision Assist with Pedestrian Detection and Lane Keeping Aid

10. The uber-cool Ford Mustang Bullitt (pictured): the Bullitt is a special celebrating the famous film’s 50th anniversary and its legendary star Steve McQueen. It begins production for Europe in June – and we predict it will be a big hit.

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