Three New Ford Performance vehicles launched at NAIAS! #FordNAIAS

Three New Ford Performance vehicles launched at NAIAS! #FordNAIAS
17 Jan 2015

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While Day One of the NAIAS Media Summit was simply awesome, the bar got raised about 4 notches on Day Two.

Monday, January 12th, 2015 will go down as one of the greatest days in history for the Ford Motor Company.

As part of the launch of Ford Performance, 3 new performance vehicles were launched. The Ford F-150 Raptor, Shelby GT350R, and the Ford GT supercar.

01 Ford Performance craig at joe louis arena

And I was there (sporting my KISS t-shirt), at Joe Louis Arena in downtown Detroit to witness it…

02 Ford Performance anson brooke natalie

… with a few friends from Canada, including Anson, Brooke and Natalie.

Ford Performance

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

03 Ford Performance people assembling

The Press Conference

Everyone assembled into the Joe Louis Arena first thing in the morning, eagerly awaiting the new vehicles launches. Ford Motor Company is the only manufacturer that does their NAIAS press conference outside of the auto show floor in Cobo Hall.

04 Ford Performance mapsgirl tweet

While waiting for the press conference to start, I was reading the tweets people were sending out using the #FordNAIAS hashtag.

Wendy had tweeted out a message to Anson and I.

05 Ford Performance brooke tweet

Brooke, one of our attendees, sent out a tweet as well.

She had selfie-stick envy, and let everyone in attendance know.

06 Ford Performance bill ford

William (Bill) Clay Ford Jr. (Executive Chairman, Ford Motor Company) came out to welcome everyone to Joe Louis Arena for the Ford press conference. He talked about his passion for the Blue Oval, and his family heritage, before introducing Mark Fields (President, Chief Executive Officer, Ford Motor Company).

07 Ford Performance mark fields

Mark hyped the excitement for the auto show, and what was about to be revealed by Ford. He brought out Joseph Hinrichs (Executive Vice President and President, The Americas, Ford Motor Company) to introduce the first of Ford’s 3 vehicle reveals.

Ford F-150 named NAIAS Truck/Utility of the Year!

Joseph talked about the iconic F-150, which has been America’s best selling pickup truck for 38 years… 48 years in Canada.

08 Ford Performance 2015 f150

Earlier in the day, the F-150 was named the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) Truck/Utility of the Year!

“Ford is honored to be named the best among such a strong field of competitors,” said Joseph. “Ford employees and customers have a lot to be proud of with the innovative and award-winning F-150.”

After the announcement, Joe started talking about the innovative use of military-grade aluminum-alloy body and high-strength steel frame, resulting in a truck that is 700 pounds lighter and more efficient than it’s predecessor.

With that being said, he introduced the next generation Raptor… Ford’s toughest, smartest, most capable truck for on and off-road performance.

09 Ford Performance joe introducing raptor

Ford Raptor

The new Raptor is powered by a brand new high-output 3.5L EcoBoost engine, with more horsepower and torque than the current Raptor’s 411 horsepower and 434 lb ft 6.2 litre V8. It’s drive train is rounded out with a 10-speed transmission with six preset modes to be used under various drive conditions:

• Normal mode for everyday driving
• Street mode for higher-performance, on-road driving
• Weather mode for rain, snow or ice
• Mud and sand mode for muddy and sandy trails and terrain
• Baja mode for high-speed desert running
• Rock mode for low-speed rock crawling

10 Ford Performance joe with raptor

“This all-new F-150 Raptor takes Raptor performance to the next level,” said Dave Pericak, director, Ford Performance.

The Raptor is 6 inches wider than the standard F-150, thus giving it better stability off-road. Partner that with larger FOX Racing Shox with more suspension travel, all-new terrain management technology, and a savings of 500 lbs with the use of military-grade aluminum… and you’ve got yourself one bad-ass truck!

11 Ford Performance raptor 500 lbs lighter

“The new transfer case offers better traction for a greater variety of terrain at low and high speeds – both on-road and off-road,” said Jamal Hameedi, chief engineer, Ford Performance.

The new 2017 Ford F-150 Raptor will be built at the Dearborn Truck Plant, and will go on sale in late 2016.

While I knew it was going to be tough to top the reveal of the new Raptor, I knew what was coming next.

12 Ford Performance raj getting out of gt350r

Ford GT350R

I’m going to jump right to it… off to the left of the stage, a door opens, spotlights go on, dry ice smokes up the pathway… and the low roar of a 5.2 litre Ford engine took over the arena. Out drove the new Shelby GT350R, a race-ready version of the Shelby GT350. Jaws dropped, people gasped… this car was hot! It drove out on front of the crowd, and then drifted around in a semi-circle, perfectly lining up with the ramps to the stage. After parking in the centre of the stage, Raj Nair, Group Vice President and Chief Technical Officer, Global Product Development, Ford Motor Company emerged from the passenger seat. Of all the entrances I have ever seen at an auto show, that had to be one of the most awesome ones to do, and you could tell by the huge smile on Raj’s face as he approached centre stage.

13 Ford Performance raj with gt350r

“The Shelby GT350R Mustang is a no-compromise car in the pursuit of maximum track capability,” said Raj. “It is a thoroughbred street car making use of technology and ingenuity to deliver performance few enthusiasts have ever experienced.”

The GT350R features the first-ever production V8 from Ford with a flat-plane crankshaft. It’s the most powerful naturally aspirated engine Ford has ever produced.

“The Shelby GT350R Mustang is a car with the nimbleness and power delivery you want on a road course,” said Raj. “This isn’t just about horsepower. The Shelby GT350R is an all-around balanced athlete – one that is extraordinarily precise and agile.”

When designing the GT350R, Ford engineers targets were simple, yet aggressive… If a part did not make the car faster around a road course, it was considered for deletion. Um… okay. Air conditioning? Gone. Trunk floorboard and carpet? Bye-bye. Backup camera? Not needed. Stereo system? You can’t hear it over that ground-pounding monster of an engine anyway. Sayonara! They even tossed out the back seats! Adios back seat drivers!

14 Ford Performance raj talking gt350r

As well, the aluminum wheels were subbed out for light-weight carbon fiber wheels, providing 13 pounds of weight reduction per wheel.

With all these measures taken, the Shelby GT350R is more than 130 pounds lighter than the Shelby GT350 Track Pack model.

“This is the pinnacle of performance Mustangs today,” said Dave Pericak, director, Ford Performance. “The Shelby GT350R Mustang lays the groundwork for a story that will play out for years to come on the track and the street.”

Everyone around me was saying that this new performance offering from Ford would be tough to beat on the track, and the reveal would be tough to beat at NAIAS. But, this was only the second reveal… Ford wasn’t done yet.

15 Ford Performance mark talking gt

Ford GT

After the screen had come down in front of the stage, Mark Fields came back out to find out what everyone thought about the Raptor and GT350R that were just revealed. With a loud chorus of cheers and applause, Mark said that Ford intended to introduce several new Ford Performance vehicles in the next few years. And one… was happening next.

A movie started playing on the big screen, showing clips of designs from Ford’s Research and Development labs. After a couple minutes of anticipation, the screen rolled up, and loud music started to play. A door opened up, and out drove one of the hottest cars I have ever seen… the new Ford GT supercar!

Bill Ford and Mark Fields returned to the stage to introduce Ford’s new entry into the supercar segment. Joining the Raptor and GT350R, the GT is one of 12 new Ford Performance vehicles to be put into production by 2020.

16 Ford Performance the new gt

The all-new Ford GT supercar sets new standards for performance with extensive use of lightweight materials, including carbon fiber and aluminum, enabling outstanding acceleration and handling with improved efficiency.

“The GT is the ultimate execution of an enthusiast supercar,” said Raj Nair, Ford group vice president, Global Product Development. “GT includes innovations and technologies that can be applied broadly across Ford’s future product portfolio – another proof point that Ford continues raising the performance bar while ultimately improving vehicles for all of our customers.”

It features a new twin-turbocharged Ford EcoBoost V6, producing more than 600 horsepower. This is the most powerful EcoBoost production engine ever! Infused with race-proven technology, the Ford GT goes into production in select global markets in late 2016.

The launch date will coincide with the 50th anniversary of Ford GT race cars placing first, second and third at the 1966 24 Hours of Le Mans.

17 Ford Performance gt bill mark

A Great Day for the Blue Oval

With the reveals of these three performance vehicles, Ford showed once again that it can not only compete, but dominate the performance automotive market.

The F-150 being named NAIAS Truck/Utility of the Year was just the cherry on top.

If you had the chance, which of these 3 vehicles would you like to see parked in your driveway?

Big Daddy

Disclaimer: I am the Senior Community Manager for the Ford Motor Company of Canada. All opinions are my own.

If you would like me to review your product, service or travel destination, please send me an email at or find me on “the twitter” at @BigDaddyKreativ

Craig Silva

Craig is a passionate and seasoned travel, food, and lifestyle writer, whose words paint vivid pictures of the world's most captivating destinations. His work not only inspires others to embark on their own adventures but also fosters a deep appreciation for the beauty and diversity of our world. He captures the essence of each locale, offering readers a glimpse into the cultures, landscapes, cuisine, and experiences that make travel so enriching. Craig is a member of the Society of American Travel Writers (SATW) and the International Travel Writers Alliance (ITWA). If you are a PR agency or brand and would like Craig to review a travel destination, vehicle, restaurant, product or service, please send him an email.

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