|Source: Ford Motor Company|
LAS VEGAS, Nov. 4 – Ford is unveiling 19 customized concept vehicles – most of them based on the top-selling F-150 pickup – and reaffirming in a major way its industry-leading relationship with the growing aftermarket at this year’s Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) show.
As the official “manufacturer of show” this year, Ford unveiled the largest ever exhibit from an auto manufacturer – a 65,000-foot display space highlighted by 14 customized versions of its all-new 2004 Ford F-150 – and teased visitors with a preview of the next-generation 2005 Ford Mustang.
Ford also announced the continuation of its Ford/SEMA Technology Initiative, which provides SEMA members with advanced access to future-product information. The relationship includes giving computer-aided design (CAD) data to aid aftermarket companies in the design and engineering of customized parts well in advance of a new vehicle’s introduction.
This successful information sharing already has allowed aftermarket companies to market and sell more than 100 items available on the 2004 F-150, as well as begin the engineering work necessary to prepare for the launch of customized parts for the next-generation 2005 Mustang next year.
“U.S. consumers spend $27 billion annually in aftermarket parts and service, and more than a third of that is on light trucks,” says Phil Martens, Ford’s group vice president of Product Creation. “Ford has been on the ground floor in helping to fuel the aftermarket’s growth, and we intend to remain a leader in the future with hot aftermarket products like the all-new F-150 and the next-generation Mustang coming next year.
“At Ford, we’re introducing the largest wave of new products in our history – from the new F-150 and next year’s Mustang to several all-new products in new segments,” Martens continues. “We intend to have hot product news every year that SEMA members will love.”
In addition to news about these vehicles, Ford announced several produc
2004 Ford F-150: America’s Truck Leader Takes Over SEMA
Visitors to the Ford display will find an overwhelming presence of 2004 F-150s customized by SEMA members. Each truck features the aftermarket company’s personalization specialties and showcases the 100 aftermarket parts already available for the new F-150.
“The CAD files that Ford provided in advance saved time by allowing us to start our project before we even had a truck in our possession,” says Ryan Strathearn with Tenneco Automotive, who developed the Rancho Suspension F-150.
“We ended up with more accurate designs because we could try many iterations before we even cut a piece of metal. Having the data greatly reduced our need to reverse engineer and also saved us money because we didn’t have to buy as many spare parts.”
The customized 2004 F-150’s on display at SEMA include:
nd the Bombardier Traxter, which can be remotely lowered to the ground.
Next Generation 2005 Mustang: Head-Turner Inside and Out
Ford is stoking the muscle car fire by giving SEMA members a sneak peek of part of the next-generation 2005 Mustang. The company is showcasing just one of many innovative new features coming on the car: a customizable instrument cluster.
The OEM-first color-configurable cluster can be back-lit in any of 125 backgrounds by “mixing” three primary colors with the turn of a dial. The effect can be subtle or dramatic, particularly at night, as the speedometer and tachometer illuminate in variations of blue, green or red hues, creating a unique, personalized driving mood.
“Make no mistake about it: The new Mustang will be a head-turner on the outside. But it also will set new standards for muscle car interiors – just like the new F-150 has changed the game in the pickup market,” says J Mays, Ford’s group vice president of Design.
The new Mustang’s standard-setting interior will include the new color-configurable instrument cluster. It uses six light-emitting diode (LED) lights that are selectable in order from green, blue, purple, white, orange and red.
An OEM-first, the technology allows customers to blend the primary colors to create more personalized backgrounds. The LEDs are filtered through innovative “light pipe” fittings on the sides of the speedometer, tacho
The new feature addresses a growing trend showing that up to 50 percent of some demographic groups – particularly “millenials” who are 25 and younger – plan to personalize their vehicles the moment they buy them. The Mustang remains one of the most customizable vehicles ever.
Ford also is allowing customers to take a piece of the new Mustang home early. A screen saver that teases the new car and illustrates how the new color-configurable instrument cluster will work is available at www.fordvehicles.com. Ford plans to use the web site to keep anxious enthusiasts informed about the new car and its debut next year.
“Cammer” Engines Showcase Power, Versatility and Personality
In addition to hot new F-150’s and a tease of the next-generation Mustang, Ford is taking the wraps off three extreme performance project vehicles powered by Ford Racing Performance Parts’ (FRPP) all-new 5.0-liter “Cammer” V-8 crate engine. The new power plant will be available through dealers or warehouse distributors beginning in 2004.
“We’ve said all along that we intend to grow the interest in overhead-cam technology,” explains Dan Davis, director of Ford Racing Technology. “There’s no reason why a crate engine can’t start, run and perform in an aftermarket setting as well as the engines in today’s production automobiles and trucks. We see the 5.0-liter “Cammer” crate engine as the future for tuners, project-vehicle builders and aftermarket car and truck enthusiasts.”
Ford has fitted the new engine in three new performance project cars being shown at SEMA for the first time:
alve supercharged V-8 creating a full 5.0-liters of piston displacement, forged crankshaft with six-bolt mains and Manley “H-Beam” connecting rods, and a specially reinforced block in the crankcase web areas for high torque loads.
Focus and Ranger Concepts Foretell the Future
Ford also unveiled two new Focus and Ranger performance concepts that showcase affordable parts available from Ford Vehicle Personalization, the company’s in-house aftermarket unit. The concepts also foretell soon-to-be-available custom body kits for the aftermarket.
“SEMA reports that the compact performance market totaled $2.3 billion in sales for 2002 and is growing at a rate of almost 50 percent year over year,” says Bob Masone, director of the Ford Vehicle Personalization group.
“Our Focus and Ranger concepts are designed to help these vehicles’ owners see what might be possible to achieve on their own route to personalization. All the modifications you see in these two vehicles will be available soon.”
The Focus concept is powered by a Ford SVT 2.0-liter Zetec engine upfitted with a supercharger, suspension lowering kit, new anti-roll bar and tuner 17×7-inch 10-spoke wheels. All of these components are all available from Ford Racing Performance Parts.
On the outside, the Focus concept features a Ford Vehicle Personalization body kit sporting new front fascia, rear diffuser, unique grille, rocker panels, upper spoiler, mid-gate spoiler and hood scoop. An upgraded interior adds black leather seats and steering wheel with Impulse inserts in seats and door trim, custom instrument cluster mask and a Clarion audio/DVD/MP3 system.
The Ranger concept is a Super Cab two-wheel-drive model with a 3.0-liter V-6 engine and five-speed automatic transmission plus a Ford Racing supercharger good for 230 horsepower and 260 foot-pounds of torque. A Ford Racing lowering kit, 13-inch Brembo brakes, high-performance air filter element and FR500 18×9-inch aluminum wheels from the Mustang complete the package.
Ford and Revolution Studios Team up to Put Hot Vehicles on the Silver Screen
Ford and Revolution Studios are announcing at SEMA an innovative new relationship matching cars and stars on the silver screen. Under the partnership, Ford Motor Company’s lineup of global brands will work together with Revolution Studios’ creative team during the early stages of film development and writing, in order to integrate Ford brands strategically into the script. In the past, placement decisions across the industry have been made as an afterthought to the script.
The first fruit of the new agreement will be the film Are We There Yet?, starring actor and rap music performer Ice Cube and his tricked-out Lincoln Navigator. Ford and Revolution revealed a concept version of the film’s Navigator at the SEMA show.
“We share a strategic vision with Revolution Studios to pair hot cars and hot stars in motion pictures,” explains Jan Valentic, Ford’s vice president of Global Marketing. “We’re providing Revolution Studios with the auto industry’s strongest, global portfolio of brands – and some of the hottest cars and trucks on the planet. Look for many of these vehicles in a theater near you soon.”