You Can’t Spell Ford Performance without the Letters “SVT” and “RS”

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If Ford’s going to sell its brand of go-fast around the world, it has to think globally. That’s why it combined the Special Vehicle Team, Team RS from its European division, and the international Ford Racing enterprise into a one-stop shop for speed: Ford Performance.

That powerhouse is going to roll out 12 models, including the next GT, the 2017 Raptor, the Focus ST and RS, and the Mustang Shelby GT 350 and GT 350R brothers, by 2020. Dave Pericak, head of Ford Performance, said his division will use the racetrack as its laboratory and testing ground.

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In doing so, Ford hopes to change its image as whole – to stop being seen as a commodity. Jim Farley, the head of Ford of Europe, said, “Performance is a more complete idea.” The Blue Oval seems to have the right idea when it comes to focusing on track-bred vehicles. It stated that the market for performance models, such as hotted-up hatchbacks and extreme trucks, has expanded by 70 percent in the U.S. and 14 percent in Europe since 2009.

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One such offering, the Focus RS, will, according to Raj Nair, Ford’s global product development chief, surprise global buyers with its sophisticated torque-vectoring all-wheel drive system, cornering prowess, tractive ability, and every-day usability. (Stay tuned for more about it.) Its 315+ hp 2.3-liter EcoBoost I4 and AWD setup will find their ways into future Ford vehicles.

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Derek Shiekhi contributes to a variety of Internet Brands’ Auto sites, including J-K Forum , Jaguar Forums, and 5 Series. He's also a member of the Texas Auto Writers Association.

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