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The first of Ford Motor Co.’s 2015 Mustangs roll off the line Thursday at its Flat Rock Assembly Plant.

The Dearborn automaker will mark the milestone with a press event. For the first time in its 50 years in production, Mustangs will be sold globally to more than 120 countries.

“The Mustang is and will continue to be an automotive icon,” Joe Hinrichs, Ford’s president of the Americas, said in a statement. “Expanding its availability globally affords our customers around the world the opportunity to have a true, first-hand Mustang experience — one unlike any other.”

Ford will produce right-hand-drive Mustangs that will be exported to more than 25 countries, including the United Kingdom, Australia and South Africa.

More than 9 million Mustangs have been sold in the pony car’s 50-year history, and Mustang-themed merchandise accounts for 40 percent of Ford’s $2 billion licensed merchandise retail sales.

The popular pony car has about 8 million likes on Facebook, making it the most popular vehicle on the social media site.

The new Mustang comes standard with a 3.7-liter V-6 that produces 300 horses and 270 pound-feet of torque. A 5-liter V-8, which puts out 420 horsepower and 390 pound-feet of torque, is an option. An optional four-cylinder 2.3-liter EcoBoost is expected to produce 305 horsepower and 300 pound-feet of torque; the current model’s 3.7-liter V-6 makes 305 horsepower and 280 pound-feet of torque.

Over the past year, Ford’s Flat Rock Assembly Plant underwent a $555 million investment to add a new, flexible body shop that will allow multiple models to be produced on the same assembly line. The plant also produces the Ford Fusion.

About 3,000 employees working two shifts will make the car. The Mustang will go on sale in the U.S. this fall, and in other countries next year.

“What an honor for the hardworking and dedicated UAW Local 3000 workers of Flat Rock to build the next generation of the Mustang,” UAW Vice President Jimmy Settles said in a statement. “I don’t think there is any place in the world where this vehicle is not known. To build it right here in Michigan is something to be proud of.”

mmartinez@detroitnews.com

(313) 222-2401

Twitter.com/MikeMartinez_DN

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