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A Mustang wagon?!? Say it ain't so

Magazine reports that Ford could make four-door versions of its next-generation Mustang.

By Peter Valdes-Dapena, CNNMoney.com staff writer

NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- Would Mustang Sally drive a station wagon? Maybe she'll get the chance.

The next generation of the Ford Mustang could include some previously unthinkable variants including a four-door sedan and a station wagon, according to a report in the magazine AutoWeek.

Mustang wagon illustration
The next-generation Mustang could share its engineering with the Australian Ford Falcon, shown above in wagon form, AutoWeek's Gritzinger said. This CNNMoney.com illustration uses current models.

"To a Mustang purist, this is blasphemy," said Bob Gritzinger, AutoWeek's senior editor for news.

Mustang has become a strong brand name, perhaps even stronger than Ford's (Charts) famous Blue Oval, the magazine story says.

Update: Ford: No way we'll make four-door Mustang

You can measure that by price. Introduced for the 2005 model year, the current version of the Mustang still sells for close to full sticker price, according to Kelley Blue Book's KBB.com Website.

AutoWeek attributes its story to a "prominent automotive industry consultant familiar with the Ford plan."

"It's a case of reaching out to the men or women who keenly identify with the Mustang, but for various reasons - whether it be family, recreational or other - need a more versatile car than a coupe," the source is quoted as saying.

The planned 4-door Mustang may be foreshadowed by a Lincoln sedan to be shown at the upcoming Detroit Auto Show.

The 4-door Lincoln uses much of the current Mustang's engineering, according to the magazine. The Lincoln car will have independent rear suspension originally developed for the Mustang but scrapped as too expensive.

The current Mustang has a solid rear axle. But Ford plans for the next-generation Mustang to have a sophisticated independent rear suspension.

The next-generation Mustang is due to come 2011, according to AutoWeek. It could come out as early as 2009, however, Gritzinger said in an interview.

That would allow the Mustang to compete more effectively against the new Chevrolet Camaro and Dodge Challenger coupes, expected to arrive in late 2008 as 2009 models.

"It's going to be muscle car heaven in 2008," said Gritzinger.

The story, including illustrations of what the Mustang sedan might look like, is in the Dec. 18 issue of AutoWeek and on-line at AutoWeek.com.

Ford executives were not available for comment on the report.

Other performance coupes have successfully spun off four-door variants despite fans' protests.

Most recently, the Dodge division of DaimlerChrysler (Charts) reintroduced the Charger name on a four-door sedan in 2005. Despite grumbling from fans of the original 1960s and '70s muscle car, the Charger sedan has sold well.

The next generation of General Motors' (Charts) Chevrolet Impala sedan will share its engineering and some design cues with the new Chevrolet Camaro, various industry news media have reported. That would allow the Impala to benefit from the "family relationship" without actually taking the Camaro name.

In this case, the two-door coupe and convertible Mustang would continue to be produced, according to the report.

Brad Bowling, a Mustang expert who has written several books on the car including the Standard Catalog of Mustang, told CNNMoney.com he was not particularly bothered by the idea.

"For years people have occasionally made their own custom Mustang wagons and that sort of thing," he said.

Bowling himself recently parted with one of his Mustangs, a 2001 model, because he needed something with more room, he said. He bought a Hemi-powered Dodge Magnum wagon.

He recognized that not everyone would share his attitude toward the idea of four-door Mustangs.

"There are going to be two really strong-minded schools of thought on this," Bowling said.

In the past, attempts to fundamentally alter the Mustang, an iconic American performance car, have been blocked because of outrage by Mustang owners.

In the 1980s, a plan to bring out a front-wheel-drive Mustang met with so much resistance that the company instead introduced the car as the Ford Probe while keeping the Mustang rear-wheel-drive.

Update: Ford: No way we'll make four-door Mustang

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