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Old 08-05-2002, 10:25   #1 (permalink)
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High-performance SVT unit will get bigger role at Ford

By MARY CONNELLY
Automotive News

In the 2003 model year, Ford Division will increase production of high-performance SVT vehicles, sell them at more dealerships and use the models in national advertising.

"We are giving more prominence to the SVT name," said Steve Lyons, Ford Division president. "SVT (Special Vehicle Team) has been around for 10 years, and we think the time is right."

High performance is an industry hot button. In July, General Motors said it will build at least one high-performance model for each division. In December 2001, the Chrysler group created a Performance Vehicle Operations unit to develop more high-performance models.

"Each of the domestic automakers is looking for the cachet you get from the performance side of the market," said Doug Scott, industry analyst with Allison-Fisher in Southfield, Mich. "The imports tend to get rated more highly on handling and performance across a broad set of vehicles. The domestics are looking to add flavor across a set of their cars that are not thought of as being as much fun to drive."

Ford Division now sells SVT versions of the Focus, Mustang and F-150.

Nick Scheele, Ford Motor COO, has championed a broader role for SVT. Here are highlights of the company's plan:

By next year, Ford will expand its SVT dealer network in the United States to an estimated 1,200 dealerships, up from 600 today, Lyons said. Ford Division had 3,911 U.S. dealerships as of Jan. 1, according to the Automotive News Market Data Book. Not all dealerships are expected to undertake the training and certification required to sell SVT models.

In the 2003 model year, Ford will increase Ford SVT Focus production to at least 12,000 units and possibly as many as 18,000. Ford built 5,500 in the 2002 model year in a shorter-than-normal production run that did not begin until March 2002.

New dealers who qualify to sell SVT models will sell only the SVT Focus in the 2003 and 2004 model years. All dealers will be offered the full SVT lineup, including the Mustang SVT Cobra and the SVT F-150 Lightning, in the 2005 model year.

SVT will consider adding one and possibly two unspecified products to its lineup.

In the 2003 model year, the Ford SVT Focus will be used in national Ford brand ad campaigns, a first for an SVT model.

"SVT will be a more significant piece of Ford (Division's) marketing strategy going forward," said Tom Scarpello, Ford SVT marketing and sales manager. "We are setting up the SVT business for increased growth."

Ford research indicates that 75 percent of those who buy an SVT model would not have considered a Ford vehicle otherwise, said Mark Schirmer, Ford spokesman.

In the 2003 model year, a five-door SVT Focus will join the three-door model in the lineup.
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Old 08-05-2002, 16:34   #2 (permalink)
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I wonder if there are some synergies between the SVT operation and whatever direction Ford Australia are taking??
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Old 08-07-2002, 03:49   #3 (permalink)
 
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Originally posted by russellw
I wonder if there are some synergies between the SVT operation and whatever direction Ford Australia are taking??
Very good point and maybe if we were to look back at what has happened I think some hints might be found that fully support your theory and a view I have on this situation.


Motor Sport news publishes an interview with Prodrive Boss David Richards. During questioning over what name his V8 team might use, he makes the statement that we are replacing the Tickford brand world wide. The natural assumption might be that the "we" refers to Prodrive but the conversation prior to this links 3 parties.

A thread is started on FF to discuss the MN article. Not surprisingly the discussion turns towards wanting explanations. The thread was removed at Tickfords request because it was heading in the wrong direction and basically doing no one any good.

What part of it was heading in the wrong direction. It is unlikely in my opinion that David Richards doesn't know what is going on in his own company.

The Herald Sun Drive section prints a story based on the previous statements.

The first official word from Tickford in a reply from David Flint in yet another thread.
He says several things but mainly that the article is incorrect, but what part is he referring to? The assumption I believe Tickford may have taken exception to might be the use of the word Prodrive. There seems to be a theme involving getting the best return for Ford and the Ford brand. Does any terminology using Prodrive achieve this?

Both David Richards and David Flint point to very positive relationship with Ford and future product developments.

From all this my guess is that Tickford might be replaced with an acronym. The title most likely will involve Ford, and possibly performance or a variation on the svo theme. A new name could very well mean a new badge. Maybe the wings might be used in a different way maybe something different completely.

Maybe the fact that Tickford being owned by Prodrive rather than by a parent company of the same name opens the door for a change that might be more focused in the eyes of some
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