The Ford Mustang is the world's most popular sporty 2-door for the third year in a row

Nobody really saw this coming, but even as sports cars have been eclipsed in popularity by SUVs and pickup trucks, an iconic American set of wheels has been the bestselling global 2-door thriller for three years in a row.

It’s the Ford Mustang. And Ford is understandably pleased that it sold almost 126,000 of the cars in nearly 150 different countries in 2017.

“The world is falling in love with Mustang,” Erich Merkle, a Ford sales analyst, said in a statement.

“Mustang represents the best of American design, performance and freedom, with an unmistakable personality that’s appeals — regardless of your post code.”

Ford added that “demand remains particularly strong in China, where Mustang was the best- selling sports coupe last year.”

The Mustang was born in 1965 and was an immediate hit. Over 50 years later, it continues to be an all-American take on performance motoring, even as the ‘Stang has shed its rough-and-tumble, muscle-car attitude and morphed into a ride that can go toe-to-toe with the likes of Porsche.

Even outside of the gas-guzzling USA, the Mustang that the world wants is also the Mustang that many Americans favor: the GT, with its 460-horsepower, 5.0-liter V8 engine.

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