For the last decade, auto makers have connected with baby boomers by recreating storied cars from their youth like the VW Beetle, Chevrolet Camaro and Dodge Challenger.
Now, Ford Motor Co. is betting it is time to hit the brakes on the retro trend, and shift its focus to a younger generation.
The Mustang, the Pony car that launched affordable and compact sports cars, today strongly hews to the look of the 1964 original. But Ford is working on radical makeover of its signature youth-market car, people familiar with Ford’s plans said. The next generation would retain the shark-nosed grille and round headlights, but would look more like the new Ford Fusion than the current Mustang, these people said.
The change is part of a bid to make the Mustang appeal to Generation Y, the roughly 80 million people who were born between 1980 and 1999. This demographic group is entering its peak car-buying years. Cars that their parents drive—and hark back to the days of Woodstock, 20 years before they were born—don’t really interest them.