Friday, January 27, 2006

SVT for every Ford?

Art of NLP has a request in the "What do you want from Ford" comments, for an SVT version of every Ford Model. And when I first read it, I was sceptical, I mean wouldn't that dilute the concept of SVT? And then I thought about it and realized that of course it would, and that would actually be a good thing. As it is there are no current SVT models, the last ones being in 2004 (Focus, Lightning and Cobra.)

But let's take a look at the SVT series in a different light. Let's look at it from GM's point of view. After all, wasn't it the SS Chevy models from the early 60's that started the whole idea of performance versions of multiple models within a company's line up? And they're doing it again. But unlike Ford, they're not limited production runs with highly inflated prices. From the Cobalt to the Malibu and Malibu Max, then up the ladder to the Impala and Monte Carlo, and then the truck guys get the Trailblazer and Silverado, all is SS (Super Sport) trims. Each model has performance and appearance upgrades from the model they're based on.
Ford is no stranger to this game either, with the SVO Mustang, SHO Taurus, Turbo and then Super Coupe T-Birds, then the SVT Cobra Mustang SVT Contour and SVT Lightning truck, and finally the SVT Focus.

So if Chevy can offer an SS version of almost every model they make (Aveo and Corvette don't have SS Versions, although Corvette does have ZO6) Why couldn't Ford??

Currently the only peformance options for a Ford model are aftermarket tuners like Saleen and Roush through select dealers, and their performance upgrades consist primarly of spoiler packages and bigger springs and wheels. Not the balanced factory performance packages like SVO, SHO or SVT.

And when I said "diluting the SVT concept" would be a good thing, I meant it. In the past SVT models were only available through select dealers, who reigned over large territories and charged premiums over MSRP as they doled out product to the lucky few. But Chevy's plan is to offer SS packages on most models through all dealers in their network and at reasonalbe prices. And while it's easy to scoff at a Chevy SS, there's one for any budget and some of them are respectable performers.

Maybe Art has a point, rumors have been that there will be 5 new SVT models when they return to dealers and I know from talking to several dealers, that they will be available through any Ford dealer, no longer the exclusive network. The 5 new models are said to be the Shelby Mustang GT500, SVT Sport Trac Adrenaline, Focus, Fusion and Lightning, but only the Shelby Mustang and Sport Trac are certain.

Ford could actually learn from GM's model at Chevy and their customers could benefit. I've had my comments on Roush and Saleen in the past, and can't beleive that Ford allows them to be sold through their showrooms, or that fools would pay $57K for a Roush Mustang or $27k for a Saleen Focus N2O.


Anonymous said...

Although the Ford Sport Trac is a very nice vehicle, it won't sell good in Belgium... Pick-ups were an important part of sales at the European Car show of January 2006 as those vehicles have fiscal advantages ( low cost taxes ) if the trunk length is at least 50% of the wheel base length. That's obviously not the case on the Sport Trac :-(

Anonymous said...

I have been and always will be a Ford performance vehicle owner. My current weekend driver is a 2002 Lightning. I attended the Detroit International Auto Show, 2006 and I was totally astonished to discover that the new Lighning slated for production had been shelved. I had been waiting rather impatiently to acquire it. Now, I shake my head and wonder who makes these decisions at Ford. The lighning drivers that I know do not care about market conditions as they apply to the average daily driver. If they build them, they will be sold. This is a huge marketing blunder and the seller DOES NOT KNOW their customer at all. Someone there, has never read "The Art of War".