Small Car Czar
StoryLAKE PLACID, N.Y. — Ford is mainstreaming its SVT performance lineup, making it available to all of its 3,900 U.S. dealers for the first time, Darryl B. Hazel, president of Ford Division told Inside Line.
"We need to do better with performance products," Hazel said. "I recognize the resources that have been made available are such that I don't think we can continue to demand exclusivity from a smaller group of dealers on SVT."
Hazel said the reaction from dealers has been mixed.
"Some think it's a terrific idea," he said. "Some think it's the worst idea they've ever heard."
There are about 600 full-line SVT dealers in the U.S. In 2002, Ford opened up the SVT program to all of its dealers to sell the 2004 SVT Focus; about 800 dealers signed on for that program.
SVT spokesman Alan Hall said not all are expected to sign on to the SVT program because of certification requirements. Although those requirements are still being formulated, they are expected to include special sales and service training for technicians.
The next SVT product due out is the Shelby Cobra GT500, which Ford will begin building as early as next spring. Hazel said it will be priced around $40,000. Volume numbers are still being determined, but Hazel said Cobras traditionally have had a volume of around 7,000 a year.