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More Ford Performance-fettled models incoming
Ford confirms more hi-po vehicles on the way, but no plans for Mustang GT350R
9 Oct 2015
By TUNG NGUYEN
ALTHOUGH Ford Australia has only confirmed a local berth for the Focus RS, Ford Performance promises that new vehicles will have a “global reach” to get local buyers excited.
Ford Performance global vehicle chief engineer Jamal Hameedi said that while Aussies will have more Ford Performance models to look forward to, it was a matter of time and resources.
“We’ve prioritised programs that now we think would have a global reach,” he said. “We’re growing so fast, there’s only so many products that we can do.
“Right now, just about every engineer is engaged on the RS (Focus), and that’s by far the most ambitious RS we’ve ever done. Between the power upgrade and the all-wheel-drive system and the vehicle dynamics, that has just consumed a lot of our engineer’s time.” Mr Hameedi, speaking to Australian media last night at a special event, said the international appeal of a vehicle was not a requirement for Ford Performance fettling, but it is something “we would like to invest the most money into”.
“There are some regional products, like the Mustang GT350 and F-150 Raptor, that have some limited global appeal, but it’s a balancing act you can’t always say it’s a black and white thing,” he said.
Ford plans to bring 12 performance cars to market in the next five years under its Ford Performance umbrella. The first was the Shelby Mustang GT350, unveiled during last year’s L.A. motor show, which was followed by the GT and F150 Raptor revealed some months later in Detroit.
The Focus RS and the even more track-honed Shelby Mustang GT350R are also confirmed as part of the Ford Performance line-up, but the rest of the models are still under wraps.
Although Mr Hameedi did not confirm the existence of a rumoured range-topping Fiesta RS, he did confirm that it was an idea that had surfaced before.
“We’ve talked about it a lot,” he said.
“There’s a debate on whether that car would have a lot of customers. It’s certainly the hardcore guys who would buy something like that and certainly in Europe, which is a very B-car centric market. B-cars are still kind of lukewarm in North America.” Mr Hameedi then joked that he would “love to put an engine in the back” to make a rear-wheel-drive Fiesta RS.
Although no indication was given on whether Ford Australia’s best-selling Ranger could get the Ford Performance treatment, Mr Hameedi did say there is room for a high-performance SUV in Ford’s line-up.
“We’re having that conversation, too,” he said.
“I would rather do programs other than an SUV or CUV, but I think there is definitely a market out there for an ST crossover.
“It’s hard to ignore.” Sharing the same underpinnings as the Focus, the Ford Kuga would be a natural fit for a hotter ST or RS variant. Equally likely to get the Ford Performance treatment is Ford’s mid-size Fusion sedan, known locally as a Mondeo.
A bodykitted Mondeo with dual exhausts was spied testing in Spain earlier this year.
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