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U.S.A.:Ford to drop SVT Focus, suspend performance lineup

By Eric Mayne / The Detroit News

DEARBORN -- Ford Motor Co. is killing its high performance SVT Focus coupe next year and suspending production of the entire Special Vehicle Team lineup for the 2005 model year, the company said Friday.

"It will hurt us," said Dean Sellers, general manager of Dean Sellers Ford in Troy. "But it won't be devastating."

Ford's next scheduled model year for SVT products will be 2006. But its lineup - the Mustang Cobra and F-150 Lightning - will be based on new platforms and offer increased levels of performance.

John Coletti, SVT's chief engineer, said the 2006 Lightning will be powered by an engine similar to the one featured in the 500-horsepower Ford GT, which debuts next year.

Other possibilities include supercharged versions of the Mercury Marauder and Lincoln Navigator, a Mustang with a V-10 and a turbocharged Focus.

In 2005, Ford plans to introduce the Focus ST, which stands for street tuned. It offers slightly less horsepower than the SVT Focus -- 155 compared with 170. But it will have more torque and likely cost less.

Angelo Giordimaina, general sales manager of McLaughlin Ford in Royal Oak, said lease and insurance rates on the SVT Focus were alienating some buyers.

Since its introduction as a 2002 model, about 4,500 units a year have been sold. Tom Scarpello, SVT marketing and sales manager, hinted Ford expected more.

"Did it meet all its objectives? No," Scarpello said. "But the majority of them."

Since the first Cobra debuted in 1993, Ford has sold more than 135,000 SVT products.

Stacy94PGT
My first car was a 67 Mustang Coupe, 2nd one was a 67 Cougar XR-7, 3rd one was a 66 Mustang Coupe. Why did I get rid of these cars for ? I know why, because I'm stupid, stupid, stupid.

My next Ford.....
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