Ford made the Ford Probe, which is a liftback coupé. It came out in 1988 and was made in 1997. Ford and its longtime Japanese partner Mazda worked together to make the Probe. Both generations of the Probe were based on the front-wheel-drive. Mazda G platform that supported the Mazda Capella.
The Ford EXP was replaced by the Ford Probe. The first-generation Probe’s instrument cluster and headlights that pop up were taken from the FC Series RX-7. Based on the Mazda MX-6 as a sport compact coupe. The Probe was supposed to fill the market niche left by the Capri in Europe. It was also supposed to be the fourth-generation Ford Mustang in North America. Competing directly with the Acura Integra, Isuzu Piazza, Nissan 200SX, and Toyota Celica. At the time, Ford’s marketing team thought that a front-wheel-drive platform (like the Mazda GD and GE platforms) . It would save money on production costs and also be more popular with customers.
Fans of the Mustang didn’t like that it had front-wheel drive. It was made in Japan and didn’t have a V8 engine. So Ford started making a new design for the Mustang. On March 17, 1997, Ford said that it would no longer make the Probe.
In 1987, Alex Trotman, who had just been named vice president in charge of Ford’s North American operations, listened to Ford Marketing vice president Bob Rewey, who was a big fan of speed, and decided that the ST-16 was not a good choice for a Mustang. Ironically, Mustang sales, which were slow at the time, went up a lot after the article came out because people were afraid it would be their last chance to buy a traditional RWD V8 Mustang.
Even though Trotman gave the go-ahead to make an RWD successor, there were many problems. The engineering budget for the Mustang had already been spent on the ST-16, and Ford was still recovering from a financial crisis in the early 1980s that almost put the company out of business until the Taurus came along.
Ford’s small-car engineering manager, John Coletti, was a strong opponent of the ST-16 Mustang. He said, “I would have rather seen the Mustang name die than put the Mustang name on the Probe.
Ken Dabrowski, who is in charge of Ford’s small-car line, asked Coletti to lead a “skunkworks” team that would make a new RWD Mustang. They knew they wouldn’t have enough money to make an entirely new car. Coletti’s team made a lot of changes to the 1979 Fox platform for the new car, which became the fourth-generation Ford Mustang for the 1994 model year.
But production of the ST-16 was about to start, so Ford had to put it on the market or lose the money it had spent on development and could face other financial problems if it broke its production contract with Mazda. It was decided that the ST-16 would come out as the Ford Probe in 1988, taking its name from Ford’s line of futuristic concept cars. It would be sold alongside the Mustang, which would continue to be made in its then-current form with only minor changes.
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