Ford to unveil new Shelby GT500 Mustang

Inspite of the current downturn in the U.S. automobile market, Ford Motor Co. is going all out by unveiling its redesigned 2010 Shelby GT500. Ford will be displaying the high-end muscle car at the 2009 North American International Auto Show in Detroit which begins January 11.

Running on a 5.4-liter V-8 producing 540 horsepower and 510 pounds-feet of torque, the new Shelby GT500 is the top-of-the-line Mustang. With the increased horsepower, the Mustang also features an aggressive exterior, as well as a range of performance rigs. The GT500 is a halo vehicle—industry jargon for car models that attract attention that induce sales of less-expensive models, and heightens brand awareness and respect.

Despite losing $8.6 billion through September, Ford is still very healthy with a kitty of $29.6 billion in cash and credit. And investing money to build a niche sports car distinguishes itself from General Motors Corp. and Chrysler LLC, both of which are on the brink of bankruptcy and are begging for federal assistance to survive.

The current Shelby GT500 sells for $43,125, and Ford sells 14 versions of the Mustang.

Aside from Ford’s GT500, GM’s new Chevrolet Camaro will also come out, generating excitement and attention in the muscle car market. Even if there is financial crisis, both automakers have sold a lot of muscle cars; Ford sold 87,244 Mustangs, while Chrysler sold 91,953 Dodge Chargers and 14,821 Dodge Challengers, according to Autodata Corp.

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