Ford Performance Group Fuels Growth In Go-fast Market
The Ford Performance Group is moving fast to expand its head start on the competition by introducing new products and hinting at its expansion to Lincoln Mercury products.
Ford Performance Group, which includes the Special Vehicle Team, Ford Racing Technology and Vehicle Personalization, is responsible for producing factory-tuned performance derivatives, special editions and performance parts as well as managing Ford’s racing programs.
Ford announced the SVT arm would produce two limited edition models, including a feature edition SVT Focus and a 10th Anniversary edition SVT Mustang Cobra underscoring SVT’s history of leadership in factory-performance. The new models will be available next year.
“The SEMA show is the premier event for automotive performance products,” said Jim O’Connor, Ford Motor Company group vice president for North America Marketing, Sales and Service. “We’re the OEM leader in this business and we’re here in force with products that connect with people who love their cars and trucks.”
The Ford Performance Group expands the particular expertise of each of its three parts across a broader spectrum of Ford, Lincoln and Mercury products.
At SEMA the group hinted that it is strongly considering the creation of a Lincoln LS performance model aimed squarely at the luxury-sport sedans of European and Asian manufacturers.
“We’re not tipping our hand to the competition, but we’re obviously testing the market for entries in other markets,” said Michael R. Zevalkink, executive director of the Ford Performance Group.
The Ford Focus, one of the most popular aftermarket project cars at SEMA, was featured in two new designs from Ford while more than 50 designs from SEMA members were on display in the Las Vegas Convention Center.
“The compact-performance parts market alone has grown to an $800 million annual business and there’s no reason to believe it won’t top $1 billion soon,” said Zevalkink. “And as a whole, the aftermarket business is a $26-billion market. So you can rest assured we’re a strong player in all the key categories.”
Ford unveiled two new Focus models, the SVT feature car that will go on sale in 2003 and a concept “Hot Wheels” model designed to highlight the fun-to-drive car’s playful spirit.