Ford SVT Lightning Update
By: Mike Magda
of Ford's Special Vehicle Team (SVT) steadfastly denied that the Lightning
pickup has been killed.
said some media and enthusiasts have interpreted the group's decision
to postpone work on the next-generation truck as meaning the program is
simply not true," said Coletti, who spoke with PickupTruck.com at
the Innovations Day luncheon, which kicked off Ford's participation in
the 2004 SEMA Show in Las Vegas on Nov. 1.
was a business decision," continued Coletti, who was a panelist along
with such legends as Parnelli Jones and Carroll Shelby to help commemorate
the 40th anniversary of the Ford Mustang. "This was almost like a
perfect storm. There were a lot of things that hit us simultaneously and
now it's just a matter of us getting back in step."
said that switching to next-generation platforms of the F-150 and Mustang
hit too close together for engineering to proceed at a timely pace on
both vehicles. Also, the plants where the vehicles are to be assembled
have changed and acclimating the procedures and parts to a new workforce
would have stretched the SVT team too thin.
trying to find a slot that it [Lightning] makes sense in," continued
Coletti. "The current slot just didn't make business sense so we're
going to go back and reassess it."
of people are taking it to mean a stronger word than postponement, and
we're here to say it's just a postponement. But the customers will get
the truck they're looking for."
the rumor mills and chat rooms sometimes focused on lack of performance
in early versions and that the new Lightning might not be able to reclaim
its status as the world's fastest pickup, a title now held by the Dodge
Ram SRT-10. Coletti said there are always such development steps with
any performance project.
of the early ones just didn't get there. It wasn't meeting our internal
objectives," said Coletti, who also stressed that some of the early
models of the Mustang Cobra and even Ford GT didn't reach performance
goals in the beginning. "That's not usual. We evaluate it as a team
and say we got to have more or we say it's right," said Coletti.
concept based on the new F-150 platform made its debut at the 2003 North
American International Auto Show. It featured aggressive bodywork and
a 500-horsepower, supercharged 5.4-liter V8 engine and an independent
the SVT Owners Association who attended the luncheon said their membership
has been outraged at the decision. But some also admit the value of their
Lightnings has increased.