Ford Performance Group Pumps More Horsepower Into Enthusiast Market
Ford, already the undisputed leader in factory-tuned performance vehicles, is putting more horsepower behind its efforts to fuel performance product passion. The new Ford Performance Group will expand the array of performance vehicles, parts and services offered by Ford, Lincoln and Mercury.
The new group combines the strengths of Ford’s Special Vehicle Team (SVT), Ford Racing Technology and the company’s Vehicle Personalization organization to design, develop and market performance products, parts and services. The organization will be the industry’s most comprehensive performance product and marketing operation.
“We created this group to maximize the most passionate and exciting parts of our business,” says Jim O’Connor, Ford Motor Company group vice president for North America Marketing, Sales and Service. “We know our customers are demanding unique, high-performance vehicles, parts and services, and we are ready to deliver them.”
The creation of Ford Performance Group reaffirms the company’s commitment to generating product passion, driving showroom traffic and boosting customer satisfaction by:
Expanding the Ford SVT product line
Delivering quickly to market special-edition Ford, Lincoln and Mercury models and performance accessories
Growing the performance parts and accessory business
Continuing to foster a direct link between racing and production vehicles
Nurturing already powerful relationships with enthusiast customers in Ford car clubs
Creating new performance products for the Lincoln and Mercury brands in the future working with Lincoln Mercury Product Development
Ford Performance Group
The Ford Performance Group brings together three entities within Ford Motor Company in an effort to maximize their collective efforts. Mike Zevalkink, formerly executive director of Ford North American Car Product Development, has been appointed executive director, Ford Performance Group and is in charge of aligning the strategies to quickly deliver performance results.
“This segment of the market is moving fast, and we intend to widen our lead in performance products, parts and services,” says Zevalkink. “The difference between Ford and the competition is that Ford has more than 100,000 SVT vehicles already on the street, and will sell more than 100,000 feature vehicles in 2002 along with a full line of factory-backed performance accessories. And you can expect to hear more very soon.”
The formation of the Ford Performance Group is a key element in Ford’s strategy to re-energize the car market while solidifying and expanding the truck and SUV segments. The emphasis on Ford performance cars has been fueled by recent announcements of several new additions to the Living Legends line of vehicles, the expansion of the company’s award-winning line of SVT products and the ongoing success in all forms of racing.
“From the excellent driving dynamics built into every Ford Focus, to the sheer strength of the 2003 SVT Mustang Cobra and the excitement brewing with the production version of the GT40 concept, performance and passion is core to Ford’s business,” says Zevalkink.
The Ford Performance Group will continue to deliver performance and personalization in special products and victories in racing while expanding into new, joint efforts. The team will work with Lincoln Mercury Product Development to examine possibilities for future performance vehicles for Lincoln and Mercury. The SVT brand will remain exclusive to the Ford brand.
Zevalkink and the Ford Performance Group will report to O’Connor and combine the following product and marketing organizations:
Ford Special Vehicle Team (SVT) was formed in the early 1990s with the charter to create limited edition, world-class performance vehicles worthy of the SVT badge. The SVT design ethic was – and still is – based on four hallmarks: Performance, Substance, Exclusivity and Value. After 10 years and more than 100,000 vehicles sold, SVT is recognized as the industry benchmark in delivering factory-backed performance vehicles that are an unmatched value in the market. John Coletti is director, Special Vehicle Team Programs.
Ford Racing Technology manages all aspects of Ford’s North American motorsports programs, including NASCAR Winston Cup, Busch Series and Craftsman Truck, CART and NHRA drag racing. Additionally, Ford Racing Technology oversees all marketing efforts for the Ford Racing brand, promotes Ford Racing at the grassroots levels throughout North America, and designs and markets specialty performance parts for both racing and street applications. Dan Davis is director, Ford Racing Technology.
Vehicle Personalization is responsible for the seamless design and integration of accessories and special feature vehicles for Ford, Lincoln and Mercury. The Vehicle Personalization group develops “Buzz” vehicles – such as the Mustang Bullitt GT and the Midnight Escape – and oversees the development of more than 4,000 aftermarket vehicle accessories sold through Ford, Lincoln and Mercury dealers. Bob Masone is director, Vehicle Personalization.
“The Ford Performance Group will leverage our best strengths in racing and product development and connect with people who really love their cars and trucks – the fans and the driving enthusiasts,” says O'Connor.