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After the discontinuation of the Fusion sedan, the Mustang is now effectively Ford’s only car available in the United States. It’ll remain like this for at least several more years and it’s probably safe to predict the sports car will continue to be one of the brand’s core offerings. So much so that Ford wants to keep it alive for at least another decade.

A new report from Automotive News claims the automaker will move to a longer, eight-year lifecycle for the next-generation Mustang. It is supposed to go into production in the fourth quarter of 2022 as a 2023 model.

Gallery: Ford Mustang Variants

Ford’s initial plan was for a shorter, six-year lifecycle of the new sports car. According to “people familiar with Ford's product plans,” however, the firm wants to retain the current model’s eight-year lifecycle. As a reminder, the sixth-gen Mustang went on sale in 2014 and will be available until 2022.

The new Mustang will be based on the same modular rear-drive platform that also underpins the new Ford Explorer and Lincoln Aviator, which means it could grow slightly in its dimensions. At the moment, the current Explorer is 10.3 inches longer than the Mustang while its wheelbase is a foot longer – there's virtually no chance of the Mustang catching up, but an extra inch between the axles or tacked on to the front and rear seems reasonable for a redesign. According to Automotive News, suppliers have been told the expected annual production volume should be around 100,000 units - some 77,000 coupes and approximately 20,000 convertibles.

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The publication also says a major facelift for the seventh-generation Mustang is planned for 2025. We can assume the more powerful Shelby and Bullitt versions of the pony car will be introduced after the refreshed model hits the production lines.

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