Ford Motor Co. is considering selling the 650-hp Shelby GT500 Mustang Convertible to other profitable markets outside North America. Hau Thai-Tang, Ford's executive director of global product programs, says the company believes the muscular GT500 has potential in China and Brazil, among other markets.
"The China market is the largest market in the world, and we believe there's room for a product like this," Thai-Tang said after unveiling the GT500 in Chicago. The GT500 is specifically marketed in North America, where big horsepower vehicles are more popular. It is part of Ford’s Special Vehicle Team unit, which is a line of performance-enhanced models, like the F-150 Raptor pickup.
Thai-Thang, who also works with the SVT business, said the plan to introduce the GT500 to the rest of the world is part of Ford’s new design outlook, the one-world “One Ford” strategy, according to Autonews.
He envisions seeing “a lot of gray-market Mustangs” in all areas of the world. Thai-Tang added that as the company executes its one-Ford strategy, they will look at the global viability of Mustang in other markets. Ford will commence production of the GT500 at Flat Rock, Mich. plant this summer.
The Shelby GT500 Mustang is powered by a 5.8-liter supercharged V-8 aluminum-block engine, which Ford describes as "the most powerful production V-8 in the world." The engine provides 650 hp of input and 600 pounds-feet of torque.
The GT500 is also enhanced with a new supercharger and camshaft, a new carbon fiber driveshaft as well as a performance-class clutch, transmission and axle. Thai-Tang declined to confirm how much they’re planning to price the GT500 but typically, current GT models have a starting price of around $50,000.