Every Christmas break, I visit my parents in the US. As soon as I arrive there, my father hands me the keys to his car, a Ford Mustang V6. This is my car every year end, and this is the car I've been wanting Ford Group Philippines to launch in our market.
My father got his Mustang brand-new in 2008 for about $21,000 (under Ford's employee-pricing promo at the time). That's roughly P900,000. Even at P2 million, I thought, this car would sell like hotcakes in the Philippines. But I knew that kind of pricing was never going to happen, what with our steep taxation and all.
And if Ford wouldn't be able to price this car competitively in our market, they might as well forget bringing it in altogether--if indeed they had any plans of bringing it in.
In late 2010, I got a solid tip that Ford was seriously mulling over the possibility of introducing the Mustang here, if only to serve as a halo car that would drive traffic to the showroom. It seemed ridiculous at the time. And the fact that FGP executives chose to remain tight-lipped whenever asked to verify the story, didn't boost the credibility of my scoop.
Months passed and the buzz just wouldn't die. "The Mustang is coming," we were repeatedly assured by various (and reliable) sources. FGP, however, couldn't officially confirm it. In hindsight, the situation probably looked like this: FGP was eager to sell the Mustang here but the company also had to be sure that it could price the car reasonably (read: at least on a par with the gray market). Until they could satisfy that second part of the equation, the Mustang was a no-go proposition.
Well, here we are now. Today, Ford is formally launching the 2013 Mustang to the Philippine market.
And you know why? Because Ford was finally able to price its iconic coupe so competitively low. How low? I have it on good authority that Ford has managed to price the Mustang--drum roll, please--P2,499,000 for the V6 Premium and P2,899,000 for the GT Premium. The former is powered by a 3.7-liter DOHC Ti-VCT V6 gasoline engine (RON 91) rated at 305hp and 380Nm, while the latter is equipped with a 5.0-liter DOHC Ti-VCT V8 gasoline engine (RON 95) rated at 420hp and 529Nm. Both variants come standard with a six-speed automatic transmission with Select Shift function.
This confirms what FGP assistant vice president for communications Anika Salceda-Wycoco revealed to me more than a month ago: "The Mustang GT Premium will be priced below P3 million." (I remember needing to collect my jaw from the floor after being told this information.)
I imagine gray-market vendors who have been making a killing with the Mustang, now cursing to high heavens. I don't know how they will be able to match FGP's pricing. For the record, the going rate for the Mustang V6 (yes, just the V6) on the gray market is around P3.2 million. Game over. Unless, of course, those independent sellers can find a way to undercut FGP's irresistible offer. Which I doubt.
When I commended one FGP executive about this excellent pricing of the Mustang, he said: "We actually want people driving it and not just looking at it at motor shows."
And just so you know, Ford didn't scrimp on the features to arrive at the above prices. Here's a quick rundown of the standard specs and features of the Philippine-market Mustangs, followed by the extra equipment found on the GT Premium in parentheses:
* MacPherson struts with gas-charged shock absorbers in front, and solid-axle three-link Panhard rod with gas-charged shock absorbers at the back;
* Four-wheel disc brakes with ABS (with Brembo brake package on the GT Premium);
* AdvanceTrac electronic stability control;
* All-speed traction control;
* Dual front and side airbags;
* Front and rear stabilizer bars;
* Reverse sensing system (with rear-view camera on the GT Premium);
* Tire-pressure monitoring system;
* Remote keyless entry;
* Security and antitheft system;
* HID headlamps (with LED fog lamps on the GT Premium);
* Standard grille (with dark chrome "Pony" on the GT Premium);
* LED sequential taillamps;
* 4.2-inch color LCD display in the instrument cluster;
* Six-way power driver's seat (with six-way power front-passenger seat and heater on the GT Premium);
* Body-color power side mirrors (with "Pony Projection Lights" on the GT Premium);
* Ford SYNC voice-activated media connectivity system;
* Shaker audio system with eight speakers and bright chrome surround (with digital storage on the GT Premium);
* Manual air-conditioning (dual-zone automatic temperature control on the GT Premium);
* Steering wheel-mounted cruise, audio and five-way message center controls;
* Charcoal Black leather seats (with Cashmere Racing Stripes on the GT Premium);
* 17-inch machined aluminum wheels (19-inch dark-stainless aluminum wheels on the GT Premium); and
* Steel roof (glass roof on the GT Premium)
Unique body color for the Mustang V6 Premium is Sterling Gray Metallic. Unique body colors for the Mustang GT Premium are Deep Impact Blue Metallic and Black. Common to both variants are Performance White and Race Red.
Now, can you say, "bang for the buck"?
Let me leave you with this short teaser video, which we produced when Ford lent us the Mustang GT Premium last week. Expect to be very tempted after the clip.
Enjoy! (Assuming you're not a gray-market Mustang vendor, that is.)
If you're viewing this on a mobile device and can't see the video, please click here.