Not many on the streets know about the Mustang’s ultimate medal on its lapel. Fewer realize just how amazing of a feat it was back in 1965. To most nowadays, the original Ford Mustang is a commonplace car show staple that signifies the start of a long-running model that seems to be part of somebody’s life in some way. Considering there have been some 10,000,000 Mustangs built/sold, it isn’t surprising that it would be.
So what am I on about? Well, the original Ford Mustang sold 559,451 copies in 1965 (plus 121,000+ in 1964½, but for comparison, I’m ignoring them). The Ford Motor Company sold 2,265,107 total cars and trucks in 1965. That means that the Mustang represented almost 25% of Ford’s total sales or 1 in 4 Ford vehicles purchased were Mustangs. Again, not too much to react to without the punchline.
Enter 2019. The ’19 Ford Mustang sold really well – even doing well enough to outsell its cross-town rival Camaro. How well? Well, all of Mustang’s iterations equated to a whopping 72,489. Not the industry-crushing amount that many previous years carried, but with a starting price tag nearing the $30,000 mark and high-performance models reaching for 6-figures, the pony-car is now priced more like a prized thoroughbred.
Well, 72+ thousand Mustangs sold sounds fairly great. Here’s why it isn’t as impressive as 1965 and also why nothing else may ever be. In 2019, Ford sold 2,887,046 cars and trucks. With that, the Mustang represented 2.5% of Ford’s total sales. Not only is that a far cry away from the 1965’s 25%, but that only means 1 in 50 vehicles sold by Ford was a Mustang. It isn’t even in the same universe.
In fact, the Mustang’s presence in Ford sales hasn’t been remotely near even 10% until you go all the way back to 1974. These numbers are just unheard of.
Part of this is that the Mustang has grown from an inexpensive, small, sporty car into a near-exotic, mid-to-upper range vehicle in Ford’s stable. In fact, the Mustang now carries most of the top-10 priced vehicles in Ford’s lineup, and because of that, the Mustang will most likely never carry that type of sales percentage ever again. Not that this is only a mark against the newer Mustangs, it isn’t likely any single vehicle is ever going to eclipse the monsoon of sales the ’64-65 Mustang had. It is an amazing achievement… and it is also why they are so prevalent today.