DEARBORN ‚Äď ‚ÄúOne truck, one car‚ÄĚ is the game plan forMotor Co.‚Äôs Special Vehicle Team moving forward, says Hau Thai-Tang, director-advanced product creation and SVT.
‚ÄúThat is our strategy, and as the business climate improves and we have more resources at our disposal we‚Äôll figure out how to do more,‚ÄĚ he tells Ward‚Äôs at a media preview here of‚Äôs ‚Äô07 lineup.
‚ÄúWe‚Äôll always have a flagship Mustang SVT product and a flagship truck product.‚ÄĚ
The future of SVT was evaluated as part of the auto maker‚Äôs Way Forward restructuring plan in North America, Thai-Tang says.
‚ÄúWe looked very critically at all of our brands, and tried to ask ourselves, given our market share, given how we want to right size the company, do we have the resources at our disposal to support all these brands?‚ÄĚ he says.
‚ÄúQuestion No.2 was, given our positioning of the Ford primary brand and the customers that we‚Äôre going after (and) the people who find Ford relevant, was SVT still a good fit within that?
‚ÄúAnd the answer for both questions was, ‚ÄėYes, we can support SVT.‚Äô‚ÄĚ
Although SVT has been granted a new lease on life, the Ford performance division isn‚Äôt what it was when it was established in 1991 to "polish the Ford oval.‚ÄĚ
Thai-Tang admits a ‚Äútough business climate‚ÄĚ makes it difficult for SVT ‚Äúto do as much as we want to.‚ÄĚ
The one car in SVT‚Äôs strategy is the 500-hp Shelby Mustang GT500. The one truck, however, is a secret Ford officials are unwilling to disclose, revealing only that an SVT truck currently is in the works.
SVT has evolved beyond its origins as a near standalone division of Ford with its own marketing and public relations staff. Today, while still retaining some degree of anonymity, SVT personnel have become more closely integrated with their Ford Div. brethren.
‚ÄúThere‚Äôs stronger coordination between Ford Div. and SVT,‚ÄĚ Thai-Tang says, adding SVT is involved with new powertrain developments and looking at ways to have those power packs support performance derivatives of Ford vehicles.
‚ÄúOur reason for being is to contribute to the bottom line and create a halo for the Ford Div.,‚ÄĚ he says.
‚ÄúIf we can‚Äôt make that connection, there‚Äôs no point in us being around.‚ÄĚ