Ford Motor Company has just announced the creation of a new skunkworks organization called simply Ford Performance. The new division will be lead by 2015 Mustang chief engineer Dave Pericak and incorporates SVT, Team RS, and Ford Racing into a single, globally recognized organization. The news come via a press conference held December 11th, wherein which Ford announced generalized product and business plans through 2020.

Included in the announcements is Ford’s plan to introduce 12 new performance vehicles globally within the five-year timeframe. This includes the just-announced Focus RS hot hatch destined for U.S. shores and the recently announced 2016 Mustang GT350. The performance vehicles already in Ford’s portfolio include the Fiesta ST and Focus ST and the F-150 Raptor. Expect refreshed versions of these vehicles to be among the 12 expected models.

Speaking at the conference, Ford’s vice president of global product development, Raj Nair, said, “Ford remains committed to innovation through performance. Our new global Ford Performance team ties together racing, performance vehicles and parts. It will allow us to more quickly introduce products and accessories that meet the needs of customers around the world on-road and on the track.”

In a statement released after the conference, Ford says it considers racing an important proving ground for cultivating passionate engineers that can overcome challenges that require successful solutions in very compressed time frames. The new Ford Performance umbrella will act as an “innovation laboratory and test bed to create unique performance vehicles, parts, accessories and experiences for customers.”

Click past the jump to read more about Ford’s new Performance division.

Why it matters

Ford is unifying itself in order to better compete in the world performance market. That especially includes GM Performance and Mopar. With 12 new (or updated) models on the horizon, Ford has its work cut out. We already expect a new version of the F-150 Raptor and a Camaro Z/28-fighter in the rumored Mustang GT350R. The addition of the Focus RS hot hatch will expand Ford’s reach into the less-expensive, front-drive performance category and rival vehicles from Volkswagen, Audi, and other Euro brands.

The creation of Ford Performance is very, very good news. We look forward to the next five years and the level of awesomeness the performance wars will reach.

Shelby GT350 Mustang

2016 - 2017 Ford Shelby GT350 Mustang High Resolution Exterior
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Ford’s latest performance beast is the Mustang Shelby GT350. It rocks a flat-plane crank, naturally aspirated, 5.2-liter V-8 making “more than 500 horsepower and 400 pound-feet of torque” with a six-speed manual sending power to the rear wheels. Ford estimates the car will reach 60 mph in less than four seconds.

Of course, going in a straight line won’t be the car’s only ability. Ford’s first-ever magnetic shock system will provide the cornering ability to brag about while a Torsen limited-slip rear differential keeps the car in line.

Pricing for the GT350 is rumored to start at $52,995; that’s well below its competition.

Ford will deliver more than 12 new performance vehicles for global enthusiasts through 2020, as the company announced today its new global Ford Performance team.

The vehicles include an all-new Focus RS that will be available to customers in major markets around the world for the first time. It is part of Ford’s plan to deliver even more performance vehicles, parts and accessories for customers around the world more quickly.

“Ford remains committed to innovation through performance,” said Raj Nair, Ford group vice president, Global Product Development. “Our new global Ford Performance team ties together racing, performance vehicles and parts. It will allow us to more quickly introduce products and accessories that meet the needs of customers around the world on-road and on the track.”

Focus RS, which builds on a pedigree of driving excellence dating to the first Ford RS in 1968, was last introduced in 2009.

“To earn the RS badge, the vehicle has to be a no-compromise driver’s car that can deliver exceptional performance on the track when required while providing excellent every day driving,” said Nair.

Focus RS will join Ford’s existing performance lineup, including Fiesta ST, Focus ST, Shelby GT350 Mustang and F-150 Raptor.

In addition to pleasing enthusiasts, these vehicles help deliver the company’s One Ford plan for profitable growth, product excellence and innovation in every part of its business. Performance vehicle sales are growing around the world – with sales up 70 percent in the United States and 14 percent in Europe since 2009.

Ford’s ST lineup, for example, is attracting younger buyers who love to drive. In the United States, more than 65 percent of ST customers come from outside the Ford brand, and more than 50 percent of Ford performance vehicle owners’ next vehicle purchase is a Ford. Millennials are purchasing ST vehicles at a rate twice that of other Ford-branded vehicles.

Powering performance vehicles, such as Fiesta ST and Focus ST, is Ford’s award-winning EcoBoost® engine range. Since the introduction of the EcoBoost engine in 2009, Ford has produced more than 2 million EcoBoost engines globally.

“EcoBoost is a strong example of how we are migrating technology and engineering across our lineup, ensuring our vehicles are fun to drive – not just our Ford Performance lineup,” said Nair. “From our most nimble Fiesta to our hard-working full-size pickups and racing vehicles, our lineup benefits from the innovations we deliver at the track and at the limit.”

For instance, the 3.5-liter EcoBoost engine in the IMSA TUDOR Championship series powers a record-setting Daytona racing prototype sports car, as well as Ford cars, trucks and utility vehicles.

Another example of this technology transfer can be found in the recently revealed Shelby GT350 Mustang, which goes on sale next year in the United States and Canada. Aerodynamic innovations developed through Ford’s investment in racing were applied to the front end of the new Shelby GT350 Mustang, helping improve downforce in the car as well as cooling.

Ford considers racing an important proving ground for cultivating passionate engineers – allowing them to innovate in top-level competition as they face challenges that require successful solutions in very compressed time frames.

New global team
The new Ford Performance organization unifies Ford SVT, Team RS and Ford Racing globally, serving as an innovation laboratory and test bed to create unique performance vehicles, parts, accessories and experiences for customers.

This includes developing innovations and technologies in aerodynamics, light-weighting, electronics, powertrain performance and fuel efficiency that can be applied more broadly to Ford’s product portfolio.

In addition to using racetracks around the world, the team will develop new vehicles and technologies at Ford’s engineering centers globally and at the new technical center in Charlotte, North Carolina. This state-of-the-art facility will help the team deliver racing innovations, as well as advance tools for use in performance vehicles and daily drivers alike.

The Ford Performance organization is led by Dave Pericak, who has been appointed director, Global Ford Performance.

Heritage of performance innovation
Performance and racing are deeply embedded in Ford’s DNA, dating back 113 years when Henry Ford won the Sweepstakes Race against Alexander Winton, then America’s greatest racer.

Following Henry Ford’s remarkable upset victory in front of Detroit’s elite businessmen, some immediately came forward to back whatever automotive venture he had in mind. Ford Motor Company opened 18 months later.

“Ford still races for the same reasons Henry Ford did in 1901 – to prove out our products and technologies against the very best in the world,” said Nair. “The Ford Performance team will continue to pursue performance innovation, ensuring we can deliver even more coveted performance cars, utilities and trucks to customers around the world.”

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