Hello everybody. The waiting is over – the legendary GT is back!
The return of the GT is part of a new approach to performance vehicles at Ford, an approach that includes the launch of an exciting new brand – Ford Performance Vehicles - a joint venture between Ford and Prodrive.
As part of the change, the Tickford and FTE brands will be retired with honour.
To see the Tickford name retired after 11 years without so much as a murmur will, no doubt, look odd to some of you. Tickford was always intended to be a manufacturing company and its mission was to facilitate the production of exciting cars for Ford Australia. Those cars were not to be ‘Tickfords’; they were to be ‘Fords’. Over the years, we never really explained that. As a result, there is a considerable amount of confusion in the minds of the enthusiasts whom we expect to buy our product. The research that we did over the last 18 months has told us that.
Similarly, FTE was not readily understood. The FTE acronym was something that was not publicly explained and, on the rare occasions that it was, seemed irrelevant to the performance car buyer.
And so, if Ford is to regain its rightful position as the pre-eminent performance vehicle manufacturer in Australia, then changes had to be made. The image made much brighter, the message made much clearer.
With the change to Ford Performance Vehicles, there is no mistaking what it stands for and what it will deliver. The image it presents to its customers is unambiguous. It is Ford, it is about High Performance, It is the Best of the Best.
Tickford was a great engineering and manufacturing company and Ford Performance Vehicles will build on that tradition of excellence. But where Tickford was purely about engineering, Ford Performance Vehicles will be about much more. The new organisation will have its own marketing and sales focus that will tackle HSV head-on. It will be a customer-focused organisation that will sell not only high performance vehicles, but premium quality merchandise and ultimately high performance parts all under the one banner.
Its mission is simple: to produce the best designed and engineered high performance cars in the country, drawing on the formidable race-bred technical resources of Prodrive.
Initially, there will be three vehicles in the Ford Performance Vehicles range:
• Pursuit ute.
Future projects could ultimately include a range of high-performance four, six and eight-cylinder models.
You will get your first look of the GT at the Sydney Motorshow in October and it will be available through Ford Performance Vehicles dealerships in early 2003.
To ensure we don’t dilute the brand, only cars meeting strict criteria will earn the right to be badged as Ford Performance Vehicles. The criteria includes: a substantial power increase over the mainstream Ford equivalent; power balanced by developments to the chassis, driveline and brakes; a vehicle that is exhilarating, yet safe, to drive; and a look and feel that mirrors Ford's motorsport activity and Prodrive’s motorsport expertise and technology.
The retirement of Tickford will necessarily mean that the Tickford wings will no longer appear on Falcon XR’s. That does not mean that the engineers who brought the Falcon XR to the market place in 1992 are no longer able to stamp their mark on future models. Just as they have at Barra, they will continue to into the future. The personality and character of the Falcon XR is in safe hands.
We understand that this may represent a significant change for many. However, we are confident it is the right strategy and will provide Ford enthusiasts with a home for all Ford performance activities. We look forward to your continued support in the future under our new name.
P.S. - Have you logged on to our new website - www.fordperformancevehicles.com.au