As a current and former owner of Ford’s iconic Mustang, I join the other Mustang faithful in having high hopes and expectations for each new model. This next one will commemorate 50 years of continuous Mustang production, so it was that with great anticipation and amid suprisingly little fanfare and hooplah that on Thursday, Dec. 5, 2013, Ford officially revealed the 2015 Mustang in six cities on four continents. This signified Ford’s intention to sell this new Mustang not just in North America, as has been the case with the previous Mustangs, but around the world. Made in USA, it will be an image car for the entire Ford brand.
Selling a car on multiple continents means designing and engineering it to enable it to comply with a variety of requirements and regulations, and to appeal to customers with varying tastes and needs. No longer will it suffice to design primarily a straight-line muscle car aimed at a narrow slice of the North American market. In addition to high performance, this Mustang will need world-class handling, superior fuel economy, refinement, premium materials and familiar Mustang design cues inside and out.
In California the reveal was held in two venues: at a strictly limited, invitation-only Press event at the TCL Chinese Theater in Hollywood and at a public event attended by many current Mustang owners, on a bitterly cold late afternoon in Venice Beach. That is where AutoMatters got its first sneak peek at the 2015 Mustang and spoke with several key people from Michigan who were responsible for its development. One new car was on display and tantalizingly close, but we were not permitted to get inside or look under its hood.
Here in part one of this special preview, we’ll hear from Doyle Letson, chief designer of the interior of the all-new, 2015 Mustang.
To be a Mustang interior it has to have large, round analog gauges; a symmetrical IP (designer-speak for instrument panel); the double brow theme; and honest, premium materials.
We tell people all the time that this interior wasn’t styled, it was designed. One of the key features, and a first for Ford, is an “active glove box door.” That means the airbag module is actually encapsulated in the glove box door. In doing so we were able to eliminate probably 100mm off the thickness of the IP, which totally changed its proportion. We started seeing this beautiful wing, so we started thinking about aircraft inspiration. Then we started carving these elements out of it to put the double brow in there, carving out to put the center stack underneath it, and poking holes in it to put the gauges into it. We have a brushed finish, an engine-turned look and a technical, grained look. When you change that panel, you totally change the face of the IP, totally change the feel of the interior.
The customer wants serious, straightforward, make-it-happen analog gauges and that’s what those are. They’re aircraft. They’re all about the information being there. It’s not overstated. They’re really, really cool. The premium series gets aircraft inspired toggle switches.