Join Date: May 2001
Coletti's speech about SVT
Good Morning, Ladies & Gentlemen. It's truly a pleasure for my wife Judy and I to be with you again in this great city.
· New York is acknowledged to be #1 in so many dimensions when describing a great city, that all I can say is congratulations to each of you, and thanks for inviting us back.
· When Bruce called and asked me to speak at today’s meeting, we spent a few minutes discussing the potential topics.
· But it quickly became obvious that the only thing I was qualified to speak about, was high-performance vehicles.
· So let’s get right down to it, and talk “fast cars.”
· In particular, I’d like to give you an update regarding Ford’s Special Vehicle Team – (i.e. SVT) and take a look ahead at what is shaping up to be a most interesting period in Detroit’s automotive history.
· The SVT Cobra, the SVT Lightning, and the SVT Focus represent the broadest range of performance vehicles offered by any manufacturer, import or domestic.
· As performance aficionados, I’m sure you recognize that we are in the middle of high performance vehicle renaissance that is truly amazing.
· Quite frankly, it's one that I never thought we would see again following the muscle car era of the 1960s.
· As an avid enthusiast growing up on the east side of Detroit during the 1960’s, I was all primed and eager to jump into the high performance car business upon my graduation from college.
· Unfortunately, as luck would have it, when I got to the company in 1972, the final curtain was coming down on the one of the greatest eras in automotive history.
· Even worse than arriving late to a great theatrical extravaganza, is having to listen to everyone talk about it. It only made the pain of missing it that much worse.
· Fortunately, the story didn’t end there.
· I’ll begin by dispensing with the 1970s. That decade was literally the "Dark Ages" of automotive history.
· Interestingly, while the automotive industry had moved away from building performance vehicles for a variety of obvious reasons during that period, the customer demand for these vehicles never really went away.
· During the 1980s, to no one's great surprise there were a few spurious attempts by the OEMs -- including Ford, – to get back into the high performance game and re-kindle the enthusiast’s passion once again.
· The car that best illustrated this point for our company was the 1984 SVO Mustang. For those of you who remember, it was truly a technical marvel for its time.
· It combined great performance with balanced vehicle dynamics to deliver a driving experience that rivaled some of the great exotics of that period.
· While some may debate the success of this vehicle, we learned an important lesson from this experience…
· Namely, while the technologically advanced SVO Mustang appealed to a small cadre of performance enthusiasts, and these enthusiasts needed – they demanded – special attention in sales and service.
· But, frankly, the massive Ford Division sales & distribution channel was never designed for that. The rest is history.
· It wasn’t until the late 80’s that things really began to heat up.
· Take for example the 1987 Mustang GT 5.0L EFI.
· It produced 225 horses with 300 foot-pounds of torque.
· This machine epitomized the art of mixing of cold air and fuel to create hot melting tire rubber.
· Think about it… In our struggle to develop technology that would allow us to meet the ever more stringent government mandates for clean air and fuel economy – such as: o electronic engine controls o three-way catalysts systems o and port fuel injection
· We freed ourselves from the shackles of the regulatory era and we were back in the performance business.
· In 1991, Ford created SVT to capitalize on this resurging interest in performance.
· The general idea was to create a group of enthusiasts working outside the mainstream system to design, develop, build, market and sell a family of high performance niche vehicles – aimed squarely at the driving enthusiast.
· The mission was very straightforward………. "Polish the Oval!"
· It almost sounds too simple, doesn’t' it???
· But that's the point: Enthusiasts building great vehicles for enthusiasts.
· The SVT design ethic was …and still is… based on four hallmarks: Performance, Substance, Exclusivity, and Value.
· So what have we accomplished during the past ten years??
· Let's look at our REPORT CARD: 1. We've built a solid business within the company · We've just sold our 100,000th vehicle · We've expanded to four product lines (with future plans to grow the business some more) · SVT Mustang Cobra (4 generations) · SVT Mustang Cobra R (3 generations) · SVT F-150 Lightning (2 generations) · SVT Focus (1st generation) o And we are profitable!
2. We've successfully piloted new technology for the company (i.e. variable cam timing, variable tract manifolds, next gen electronic controls, new catalysts systems, & six speed transmissions)
3. We've demonstrated our technical prowess in virtually every arena of the vehicle business: o Both cars and trucks o V8, V6, and I4 engines o Naturally Aspirated and Boosted engines o FWD & RWD o Manual & Automatic Transmission
4. We've demonstrated the ability to produce niche vehicles and powertrains in-house.
That's the beauty of how we do it. We are proof positive at Ford that our high-volume manufacturing facilities are nimble & flexible.
5. With the SVT Focus we've demonstrated the ability to launch a true global vehicle simultaneously. (i.e., the ST170 Focus and the SVT Focus are sister vehicles that were developed with a global SVE team, and launched simultaneously in both North America and Europe).
6. The halo factor cast upon our mainstream brands has been an unquestioned, unqualified success. …………………………. It just plain works!
· From our CUSTOMER'S perspective.
1. We've given them an opportunity to own a vehicle that truly stirs the soul, with the peace of mind of knowing that Ford stands behind their purchase.
2. SVT vehicles have historically retained 7-8% more of their original purchase price.
3. Finally, our customer’s are forming ownership associations, known as “SVTOA” which is the greatest honor that a company could hope for from its customers.
Americans love a winner…. and 14,000 members in over 40 chapters nationwide can’t be wrong.
· And from the DEALER'S perspective, we have over 600 dedicated dealers in the U.S., 25 in Canada and 25 in Mexico. With most of them being with us during our entire then year history.
· Simply stated, today SVT is an unqualified success. · Let's take a look at the COMPETITION…
· Recently you've heard a lot about our cross-town rivals establishing in-house activities similar to SVT, organized to do exactly what we've been working on for the past 10 years.
· At the North American International Auto Show, Chrysler announced the creation of PVO. Which stands for Performance Vehicle Operations.
· GM has announced their GM Performance Division headed by Mark Ruess.
· We've also heard from several other OEMs who are all talking up the formation of in-house teams to expand into the high performance niche business.
· With each one of these announcements, I was asked time and time again if I was concerned about the newly announced competition.
· And to each and every query, I strongly said, "Its about time!"
· "It's about time they've decided to jump into the most exciting part of the automotive business!"
· My firm belief is that the competition will be intense, and in the end, the consumer will be the winner. I truly believe that as the competition heats up, it can only sharpen our focus and drive us to create even better products.
· From an SVT perspective, these announcements couldn't have come at a better time.
· We now have outstanding product entries in three distinct segments.
1. The SVT F-150 Lightning is clearly the undisputed, unchallenged heavyweight champion in the sport truck segment.
2. The SVT Focus is the #1 challenger for the title in hotly contested "pocket rocket" segment. We think you'll all soon call it the champion… Make no mistake…this is a great car!
3. And the new SVT Mustang Cobra is undoubtedly the performance king for any vehicle under $35,000.
And just try to find more horsepower per dollar. Talk about Performance, Substance and Value. What better example than our new Cobra – The Authentic American Muscle Car.
· I'm almost tempted to quote Mel Brooks from the film "History of the World"…"Its good to be King" but I won't.
· Now the real question we need to ask ourselves is, "How will SVT fare in the future with all this newly announced competition?”
· Certainly, this is a difficult question for anyone to answer, especially someone as unbiased as myself.
· But rather than give you the answer you might expect to hear from me, I'd like to use an old military practice for sizing up an opponent prior to battle. This practice is based on the premise that there are three key factors for success in war… 1) Will Power 2) Staying Power, and 3) Fire Power.
· And I submit to you that we have demonstrated all three key factors “…in spades…” during our short 10 year history.
· But if that wasn’t enough for our competitors to worry about, we have recently announced the formation of the Ford Performance Group (FPG).
· In creating FPG, Ford has combined the product and marketing strength of three existing entities.
· In addition to SVT (which we’ve already talked about), FPG includes Ford Racing…which will continue to manage all Ford Motorsports programs and Performance parts program, and Vehicle Personalization, which is an industry leader in wide range of specialty offerings (i.e. from feature vehicles, to customizing componentry, to vehicle accessories).
· While are competitors are busy defining themselves, we have now expanded our capability to cover the entire performance market waterfront, and to be the most comprehensive performance team in the industry.
· Suffice to say that the future of performance vehicles is brighter than ever, and the only people in Detroit who aren’t excited about the upcoming competition…just don’t have a pulse.
· Given all the above, it should come as no surprise to anyone that when Mr. Ford decided to put the Ford GT into production, he came to his SVT special forces to head the product development effort.
· I’m sure you would agree that the Ford GT has captured the minds and hearts of every automotive enthusiast in the world and the fact that Ford has announced production plans for a road going model of the most fabled sports car in history has everyone waiting with bated breath.
· With the introduction of the Ford GT, we are writing Chapter 2 in this incredible story.
· I don’t need to spend much time reminding everyone that in Chapter 1, the Ford GT40 took on the best sports cars in the world, and handily beat them at their own game.
· While beating the competition was certainly a sweet experience, having Enzo Ferrari declare that he was pulling out of endurance racing because they would no longer run against the 7.0L monsters from Ford was a true testament to the dominance of the Ford GT40.
· So here we are nearly 35 years later, any many may ask why build this car now. Especially during these very difficult economic times.
· The answer is quite simple…To prove you are a great automotive company, you must prove it by building great automobiles.
· And in this very competitive and cluttered world of companies constantly trying to capture the attention of the automotive consumer, the Ford GT stands alone like a big beautiful comet streaking across the sky mesmerizing even the wanna-be enthusiasts.
· Let me take the comet analogy one step further.
· While everyone’s attention is focused on the brilliant head of the comet, the real news is behind the comet.
· Consider the following: · Within two months of the announcement, Ford assembled a completely functional and self-contained team to make the Ford GT a reality. · The team pushed the product development envelope on several fronts simultaneously and within six short months they created a complete product and business plan for the vehicle, and had the first fully engineered prototype running. · The target is to take on the one of best sports car on the road today, the Ferrari 360 Modena, and to out perform this icon in every meaningful performance parameter.
· Its kind of ironic that in the 1960’s Ford brought out the fabled GT40 and dominated Ferrari on the premier race tracks around the world. And that in the near future the Ford GT will return to outgun Ferrari once again on the streets of America.
· I hope that you will agree that by designing, developing, and producing the Ford GT in record time, Ford is demonstrating several things to the automotive world: · We are nimble and fast. · We have the technical prowess to create the finest cars in the world. · We are an aggressive company with lofty goals. · In closing, I know everyone at Ford is looking forward to the future, and to competition, with great anticipation and excitement. So I'd like to convey two final thought to our competitors…
· "It's about time you showed up. And don't hesitate. Please jump in. The water is just fine!"