New Webasto Glass Roof Creates Dynamic Look for 2009 Ford Mustang
Webasto brings unique project from inception to Job 1 production in just 70 weeks
ROCHESTER HILLS, Mich., Jan. 2 -- Like the speed of the car itself, the soon-to-be-released 2009 Ford Mustang was the inspiration for a fast-developed new glass roof option that maximizes automotive consumers' growing desire for more natural light.
America's favorite muscle car, the Ford Mustang, will make its 2009, 45th- anniversary public debut at the North American International Auto Show with an unique alternative developed by Webasto Roof Systems, Inc. -- a factory-installed fixed glass roof.
The new roof will be an option available on both the Mustang GT and the V-6 Mustang beginning in the summer. It provides consumers a third roof option -- one that's less expensive than a convertible, yet still lets in natural light without compromising the coupe's head room or versatility.
"We believe this project truly speaks well to Webasto's ability to deliver complex engineering capabilities in a very short time frame while still meeting our customers' strong engineering demands for their product's safety, durability, and styling," said Andreas Weller, Vice President Business Development at Webasto. "It was a remarkable achievement that, along with Ford, we brought this program from concept to 'parts on the road' in just 70 weeks -- about half the time normally taken on an automotive project of this complexity.
"Such success started with our close working relationship with Ford Motor Company but it also reflects Webasto's competence and level of expertise and know-how in designing, engineering and proving out large, high-quality and innovative roof systems."
The assembly process for the fixed glass roof option vehicles includes a full, invisible interface with the body shop at Automotive Alliance International's Flat Rock, Mich. plant which assembles the Ford Mustang.
"While we produce and deliver several fixed transparent module roofs (FTM's) in Europe and Asia, this is the first fixed module in the United States market," Weller added.
Components are produced and shipped to Flat Rock from two different Webasto locations, in Livonia, Mich. and Rochester Hills, Mich.
"What really brought this project together between Ford and Webasto was our ability to fully integrate the glass roof with the Mustang's structure -- to provide a design that did not cause any compromise to any structural rigidity of the vehicle, while still offering a very unique option for the end consumer," Weller said.
Consumers' Changing Tastes:
Market research shows that more and more consumers prefer the full view and feel of expanded roof systems that let in more natural light -- which is a specialty of Webasto. As seen in the new Mustang, designs are trending towards sleeker, more aerodynamic and more dramatic body styles. Innovative roof systems like the Ford Mustang fixed glass roof provide a feeling of openness with lots of light while maintaining a strong structural roof that passed the full battery of compliance testing.
The roof is made of tinted privacy glass that protects interior materials from solar radiation discoloration or deterioration, while also maintaining interior quietness. A manual roller blind is built in to allow drivers and passengers to further control exposure on the sunniest of days.
"We know first hand from our global reach and experience that traditional roof systems are being replaced in many markets by more innovative options," said Weller. "Consumers are demanding new features on their vehicles every year -- and the roof area was about the only remaining place left on vehicles to incorporate truly innovative and attractive design cues. Webasto has used its decades of expertise to pioneer roof systems that are functional, attractive and versatile."
Webasto Roof Systems, Inc. is a subsidiary of Webasto AG, one of the world's largest suppliers of roof systems and thermosystems to the automotive industry. The 106-year-old company is based in Stockdorf, Germany, and employs more than 6,000 people in over 40 countries. For additional information, please visit http://www.webasto.com/.