• Sunday, May 26, 2024
businessday logo


Live event in UAE heralds Mustang


Ford Motor Company has underscored its growing ambitions in the Middle East and Africa with the introduction of the all-new Mustang on the Burj Khalifa, 160 floors world’s tallest building.

Bill Ford, Ford executive chairman, capped the live-action event by delivering the iconic pony badge to the 2015 yellow Mustang on the 112th floor of the skyscraper. The event was viewed live around the world on YouTube as well as by approximately 10,000 people gathered in the Dubai Downtown area, overlooking the Dubai Fountain and Burj Khalifa.

“Today we planted the Ford flag in the Middle East & Africa, an exciting, vibrant region that represents the final frontier for growth in the auto industry,” Ford said. “We also sent a message to the world that Mustang is going global after 50 years as America’s greatest motoring icon,” he added.

Ford established its new Middle East & Africa business unit this year, which covers the company’s automotive business in 67 Ford markets in North Africa, Sub-Saharan Africa, South Africa and Middle East regions. Industry sales in Middle East & Africa are expected to grow 40 percent to 5.5 million vehicles by 2020. To meet new customer demand, Ford pledged to launch 25 vehicles in region by 2016, including the all-new Mustang debuting next year.

Viewers of the light-hearted action spectacle witnessed a dramatic journey that started with a hero atop a cliff in Arizona taking an urgent call. The unknown protagonist raced via horseback, airliner, car, helicopter and jet ski to Dubai to deliver the iconic pony badge. Only in the final scene on the 112th floor of the Burj Khalifa – 399 meters (1,300 feet) above the ground – was the protagonist revealed with a wink and a nod as Bill Ford, the great-grandson of Henry Ford.

READ ALSO: Why Nigerian insurers may need to consider expert advice for counterparts in East Africa

“A century ago Henry Ford had a vision to open the highways to all mankind,” said Jim Benintende, president, Ford Middle East and Africa. “Placing our regional headquarters in Dubai lets us tap the innovation and imagination that’s flourishing here, helping us to bring our founder’s vision to this part of the world.”

In addition the new Mustang, Ford also previously announced a plan to introduce such new vehicles as Ford Focus, Ford Fusion and Lincoln MKC in the Middle East and Africa. The company also announced the accelerated rollout of many new technologies to the region, including EcoBoost engines, SYNC in-car connectivity, inflatable rear seat belts, MyKey and other driver assist technologies.

The 2015 all-new Mustang is the most advanced version yet of the iconic pony car, offering more advanced driver-assist technology than any other car in its class. The sleek new design of Mustang fastback and convertible is backed up by world-class performance from a range of available engines, including a new turbocharged EcoBoost 2.3-litre and an upgraded 5.0-litre V8 with more than 420 horsepower. In addition to state-of-the-art connectivity systems, Mustang features available track apps, launch control and more.

Ford Mustang was revealed to the world with a television advertising campaign on the evening of April 16, 1964, before being shown to the public at the New York World’s Fair on April 17. The car officially went on sale that day, and Ford dealers accumulated a record 22,000 sales and orders that first day on the way to more than 418,000 sales in the first year and 1 million sales in less than two years. Over the past five decades, more than 9 million Mustangs have been sold.

“Almost 50 years ago, Ford captured the world’s attention by placing a 1965 Mustang Convertible atop what was then the world’s tallest building, the Empire State Building in New York City,” Ford said. “Today’s event in Dubai, home to the world’s current tallest building, completes an incredible global journey for Ford and Mustang,” he added.

A team of six engineers travelled with the special Mustang from Ford’s world headquarters in Dearborn, Mich., to Dubai aboard an Emirates Airlines flight. Once the car arrived in Dubai, it was transported to the base of Burj Khalifa and carefully separated into six sections that could be transported to the 112th level via the building’s elevators. The team reassembled the vehicle over approximately 12 hours.

“We’ve taken the new Mustang to new heights of technology and refinement, so taking it literally to new heights atop the Burj Khalifa is an amazing achievement for our team,” Benintende said.

“There are no cranes that would reach that high, and helicopter delivery is out of the question. Making this happen is truly an example of Ford engineering expertise at work,” he also said.

Ford partnered with several organisations to bring this event to life, including Dubai’s Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing, Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Emaar Properties.

“Dubai is a destination which offers a remarkable range of breath-taking experiences, so Ford’s ambition for this event was a natural fit,” said His Excellency Helal Saeed Almarri, director general, Dubai Tourism.

“It was a privilege to work with Ford and our partners to stage the event and to demonstrate once more that Dubai is a city which continues to push the boundaries of possibility.”

All Ford models are imported and distributed in Nigeria by Coscharis Motors and RT Briscoe plc.