Ford Performance (F) has announced that it intends on introducing (pending NASCAR approval) its iconic Mustang model to the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series in 2019. The “muscle car” would become the 4th model Ford has run in NASCAR’s most prominent series, in the modern era (since ’72); following the Thunderbird, Taurus and Fusion. While the body will be available to Ford Performance teams, on the Cup circuit, for the first time at the 2019 Daytona 500; Ford has been using the model in the Xfinity Series (#2 circuit) since ‘11. Chevrolet also changed its body style earlier this year, introducing the Camaro ZL1 to the Cup Series; a long-time rival of the Mustang.
Howie Long-Short: Ford Motor Company (F) has had a rough start to 2018, with shares down 12% YTD (17% since January 12th). The rising costs of aluminum and steel, thinning margins (5.4% operating margin in ’17, GM – 8.8%, Fiat – 6.4%) and underwhelming sales abroad (particularly China & U.K.) are to blame. Looking for a bright spot? Morgan Stanley says the company’s F-1 pickup franchise alone, could be worth 1.5x the company’s EV. The company will report Q1 earnings later today.
For those wondering, in 2017 Ford sold 20% more Mustangs (81,866) than Chevy (GM) did Cameros (67,940).
Fan Marino: Ford is having a strong season on the track. 5 of the Top 6 drivers in the Monster Energy Series standings drive a Fusion and the manufacturer has won 4 of the 8 races. As for Chevrolet, Austin Dillon won the 60th running of the Daytona 500 in a Camaro; but, their teams have struggled since.
It’s worth noting that 2 Ford drivers won Xfinity Series Championships driving a Mustang, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (’11, ’12) and Chris Buescher (’15). Despite their Championships, no one has won more races driving the model than Brad Keselowski; with 17 trips to Victory Lane.
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