January 18, 2017 CNN Money Reports that new 2018 Mustang will get refined styling, advanced suspension, and 10 gears, meaning both greater fuel efficiency and more power. Win win! The story behind the changes reveal how brands evolve through dialogues between companies and their customers.
Better Handling: MagneRide
The new Mustang also boasts “MagneRide magnetorheological” adaptive dampers. First developed by Delphi Motors, and now owned by Beijing West Industries, MagneRide is a semi-active and adaptive suspension system that employs a magnetorheological damping design to improve handling and ride quality. The system was first employed in 2002 on the Cadillac Seville STS. By 2014 the system became increasingly common in the premium car sector, adopted in the design of wide range of high-end models, from the Lamborghini Huracánto the Audi S3, and the Ferrari F12 to the Vauxhall VXR8 GTS.
Simply put, MagneRide technology has the capacity to adapt to changing driving situations by adjusting the damping effort in shock absorbers to meet the dynamic needs of road conditions and driving style. For drivers, this all means significantly better handling.
Has it already been 13 years since that retro redesign?
Alongside the innovations, Ford has styled the new model profile to build on familiar aspects of the classic Mustang look, while moving beyond the overtly retro overhaul introduced in 2005—hard to believe the latter redesign was already 13 years ago!
Striking the balance between old and new required designers at once move forward and back. A new sharper, more aggressive front-end nose now slants lower over the front grill. The change is a response to complaints that the front end of the 2015-2017 models had grown a bit round, too muscular, and lacked the cutting front angles of the Stang’s classic “shark-like” attitude.
The fine tuning reveals the importance of ushering in the new within the frame of the familiar. In the world of marketing, familiarity speaks to the affective impact of the “classic.” But nostalgia is only effective when leveraged to introduce innovation. The design changes reflect something more fundamental to an effective brand: The relationships between manufacturers and customers. The design of the Mustang is not a one-sided story; it emerges as a dialogue, based on ongoing feedback and interaction between the car’s fans and designers. When introduced back in 1964, Ford marketed the Mustang as the car “designed to be designed by you.” The latest changes suggest that Ford has taken the notion of customer-fan inspired design seriously. The balance innovation and recognition, the new and the familiar, has itself emerged as a defining theme in the story of Mustang’s brand legacy.
*For more on the Mustang brand and what it means for branding and content strategy, see