There's a big difference between admiring something and actually spending your money on it. For example, after spending some time behind the wheel of a Mini Cooper S this past summer at an autocross, I have a new found respect for the car. But I'd never buy one because the interior design is absolutely terrible. I think many Europeans admire the Mustang, but its impractical for many, both in physical size, engine displacement, emissions, fuel economy, and cost. Plus, if you look at most european designs, they are vastly different than what the mustang brings to the table. It's a rough and tumble kind of car. If most Europeans wanted that sort of vehicle, they would sell in much greater numbers than they do.
Not everyone in europe loves the mustang enough to actually want to buy one. Ford's task with the next mustang is to make the mustang more palatable to the European audience---or at least that's what we've been lead to believe. If they can get the car down to something more along the size of a Fox body mustang, along with the excellent motors that Ford is producing currently, and an IRS, I think they could produce something with more universal appeal.
Here's my take on the subject: While I agree that a V8 Mustang will not have the huge sales volume for a European consumer market (although there will be a few enthusiasts that will spend the cash...just like there are today who import and pay the huge taxes/import fees, etc.), but a 4 or 6 banger will sell all day long...assuming the price is in competition with other makes/models that are sold daily here.
You're right when you say there's a "difference between admiring something and actually spending your money on it." However, being here in Germany I can tell you without hesitation that if Ford is smart they can sell Mustangs--and many of them. Germany's economy--today--is not in the toilet...not even close. While other European countries are having difficulties, it's the Germans and French who are bailing them all out. Yes, it will take it's tole on the "bread winners" eventually--assuming things stay the current course--the article linked is very misleading on several accounts that I won't even go into here, but Germans are not hurting when it comes to their standard of living--comparatively.
I don't think--purely conjecture on my part--Ford is going to trash the Mustang, as in years past, just to please some green society. If the V8/V6 is offered in North America it will sell...most likely in the same numbers as in the past few years. However, if a Turbo 4 is also offered in Europe (and/or North America) then it's just a win for Ford IMO. I think 46T said it best:
Originally Posted by 46Tbird
Just stick with the plan, Ford. Make the styling distinctive, handsome, and aggressive...
Many of you seem to focus on one outlook and not the possibilities of having several options on the table. If the Mustang is only offered in Europe with a V8 then no, it won't sell well. If other options are available then it will. There are a plethora of 6 banger cars racing down German autobahns daily. Most are not getting close to 30mpg...yet Germans still drive them. As long as it looks good, can handle 100mph speeds for extended periods of time, offer low maintenance and reliability, and get decent gas mileage...they'll sell here.