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Ford's new Mustang? Yep, it's got plastic

By: Don Loepp

December 5, 2013

Ford Motor Co. marked the 50th anniversary of its iconic Mustang sports car with a global coming out party for its newest model, timed for one minute past midnight on Dec. 5 at Ford's Dearborn, Mich., headquarters.

And while the designers and engineers are talking about horsepower and heritage, there's one thing that industry insiders also know — that pony is partly plastic.

From the "contemporary execution of the signature shark-bite front fascia and trapezoidal grille" at the front to the "three-dimensional, tri-bar taillamps with sequential turn signals" at the rear, the new Mustang uses highly-designed and engineered plastics as part of its overall look.

Plastics are used in key parts for the new EcoBoost engine and in the interior.

"We wanted everything to be just like the cockpit on a plane," said Doyle Letson, Ford chief designer, interiors, in a video interview released by the company. "Everything that we've done on this interior has been thought about. You're dealing with aluminum, you're dealing with leather, you're dealing with vinyl, so it really gives us a great look on this interior."

And while Susan Lampinen, Ford group chief designer, color and materials, may not mention plastics specifically as part of the "textures and materials" specially selected for the Mustang, she does note the use of "real plated parts, plated chrome and plated satins."

"Everything is real," she said.

Suppliers specializing in plated plastic trim, who had to make sure there would be a flawless surface, would likely agree that it's all real.

(Thanks to Rhoda Miel, one of Plastics News' Detroit-based staff reporters who covers the automotive market, for today's post).