Ford Motor plans to stretch the next Mustang program to eight years, up from a previously planned six, suppliers have been told.
Production of the next-generation Mustang will begin in late 2022 for the 2023 model year, according to people familiar with Ford's product plans.
The expectation for an eight-year program mirrors the life cycle of the current model, which went on sale in 2014.
It's not uncommon for automakers to shift product timelines in the years leading up to the launch of a new or redesigned model. Extending the seventh-generation Mustang's life cycle could help Ford save on engineering and development costs for a relatively low-volume nameplate as consumers increasingly opt for utilities or pickups.
The extension also signals Ford's confidence in the storied nameplate even as rumors swirl that one of its competitors, the Chevrolet Camaro, could be discontinued.
The next-generation Mustang is expected to be moved to the same rear-wheel-drive/all-wheel-drive platform shared by the Ford Explorer and Lincoln Aviator, which could mean a slightly larger silhouette.
Suppliers have been told that annual production volume for the next-gen pony car will tally just under 100,000 vehicles a year: Coupe volumes are projected at 77,000, and up to an additional 20,000 convertibles are planned, suppliers say.
The vehicle is scheduled for a freshening in 2025, suppliers have been told.
A Ford spokesman declined to comment on future product.
U.S. sales of the Mustang fell 12 percent to 33,786 in the first half of the year, impacted by the coronavirus pandemic. Still, the sixth-generation vehicle has paced the pony car segment each year since it's been on sale.
Ford has added a number of Mustang variants throughout its life cycle to keep the vehicle fresh, including the Bullitt, Shelby GT500 and upcoming Mach 1.
The automaker in recent years has ended all sedan production in North America as executives focus on nameplates that can generate excitement — and profits.