FORD'S SPECIAL VEHICLE TEAM CRAFTS VEHICLE NUMBER 100,000
Rapidly approaching its 10th Anniversary of producing Ford's exclusive performance cars and trucks, the Ford Special Vehicle Team (SVT) is marking the production of its 100,000th vehicle – a 2002 SVT F-150 Lightning.
"Given how rare SVT vehicles are, it's hard to imagine we've produced 100,000 of them already," said Tom Scarpello, marketing and sales manager for Ford SVT. "That demonstrates not only the appeal of the products we build, but also the commitment from our top management. This can only happen when you have people running the business who are passionate about the product."
SVT was publicly launched in February of 1992 with an overall goal of reaching automobile enthusiasts while simultaneously "polishing the Ford oval." To do this, Ford brought together a small, cross-functional group of engineers, product planners and marketing professionals – housed under one roof – to create low-volume, factory- produced performance vehicles. Since the debut of the 1993 SVT Mustang Cobra, the performance group has followed up with several distinct versions of the SVT Mustang Cobra, the Cobra R, the SVT Contour and the SVT F-150 Lightning. The all-new SVT Focus makes its debut in March.
"When you combine hitting the 100,000 unit mark, our rapidly approaching 10th anniversary, our first entry into the hot-hatch segment with the 2002 SVT Focus and an awesome new SVT Mustang Cobra out later this year, it's an exciting time at SVT," Scarpello said. The current SVT line-up includes the 2002 SVT F-150 Lightning that features a 5.4L 2V SOHC supercharged and intercooled V-8 engine. The engine produces 380 hp and 450 ft.-lbs. of torque, enough power for the Lightning to be considered one of the world's fastest production pick-up trucks.
The 2002 SVT Focus features a 170 hp, 2.0L DOHC Zetec 4-cylinder engine and will begin to arrive in Ford SVT-certified dealerships in spring. The SVT Focus promises to be the performance value leader of the hot-hatch segment with its $17,995 price (MSRP including destination and delivery) and standard high performance equipment, including a six-speed manual transmission, 17-inch wheels and tires, four-wheel disc brakes with ABS, and leather-trimmed front sport bucket seats.
The 2003 SVT Mustang Cobra features a 390 hp, supercharged and intercooled 4.6L 4V V-8 engine mated to a 6-speed manual transmission. The new SVT Cobra was revealed at the Chicago Auto Show and shows up in SVT dealers later this year.
"One hundred thousand vehicles, and we're just picking up speed," adds John Coletti, chief engineer for Ford SVT. "You haven't seen half of what we can do. SVT has proven to be a differentiator for Ford Motor Company, and support from upper management couldn't be stronger. Even with other companies trying to follow suit, we believe SVT will remain on the forefront of niche vehicle engineering and development."