So, where does all this leave the next generation SVT Lightning with
Dodge and Chevy mobilizing their troops? Scarpello says, “SVT customers
have to have the top of the line and that’s what we plan to continue
to offer. What we are trying to show with the Lightning (concept) is that
no one will knock us off the mountain. The production truck will probably
be quite close to this.”
and the SVT gang seem to be most concerned with the performance threat
offered from the Dodge Ram SRT-10, and what that means to this segment
will probably lighten wallets as much as it boosts performance.
The Dodge Ram SRT-10 is expected to sticker in the $50,000 range with
performance numbers almost certainly better than the 2003 Ford SVT Lightning
when it hits the streets later this year or in early 2004.
“It’s a total repositioning of trucks in the (performance)
segment…but their moment in the limelight will be very short”,
says Scarpello. “Our engineers have been doing this for over 10
years and we have a brand new platform we are starting with. We can offer
a much better driving experience.”
Performance numbers are sure to change but in Scarpello’s view,
“You have to be careful about getting hung up on certain specs.
We (SVT) would give up having the best 0-60 times but we won’t let
go of the ¼-mile. That’s our performance benchmark.”
expects to see prices on the highest performing truck rise with their
driving dynamics. “We are getting into higher and higher performance
and that pushes prices up, but you can’t let the competition take
over. SVT owners deserve the top-of-the-line.”
and others won’t say what the final price range for a next generation
Lightning will be, we think it can be assumed that it will be far north
of the low $30k’s you might pay for one of these trucks today and
probably a lot closer to the SRT-10’s expected price tag to get
those three letters and the performance numbers that go with it on your
does speculate that we could see a price-driven division in performance
appear that’s similar to today’s Mustang. For those willing
to pay top dollar they can purchase an SVT Mustang Cobra while those with
less financial resources that still want a high performing car can buy
a Ford Mach I Mustang. Ford could take the same path with the new truck
and offer lower-priced but very muscular F-150’s while SVT follows
whatever path possible to stay at the top of the heap.
the new Lightning show up? According to Scarpello, “For 2004 we
are in a changeover period and the Lightning’s plant will be one
of the last plants to convert for production of the new F-150.
Our version will lag by months, possibly up to a year after the new truck
goes on sale.”
In the meantime,
Scarpello says that John Coletti is waiting down by the stoplight for
the competition to finally show up and for SVT owners and driving enthusiasts
to keep a spot open in their driveways. Ford’s Lightning will be
striking again soon.