Ford Special Vehicle Team
The Ford Special Vehicle Team (SVT) was conceived in 1991, when Ford senior management recognized the corporate advantages of investigating niche vehicle market opportunities. The idea was to assemble talented driving enthusiasts at Ford and some of its key suppliers into a small, cross-functional group of engineers, product planners and marketing professionals with a common mission: create vehicles to satisfy the unique desires of the knowledgeable driving enthusiast.
Once the team was assembled, SVT was charged to develop and market factory high-performance "halo" vehicles that would add luster to the company's lineup – or "Polish the Ford Oval." To that end, the team focused on creating limited-production cars and trucks with balanced performance attributes – vehicles that stop as well as they accelerate, ride as well as they handle and, above all, are fun to drive.
The official launch of Ford SVT came during the 1992 Chicago Auto Show with the unveiling of the 1993 SVT Mustang Cobra and SVT F-150 Lightning. Both went on sale in February of '93. Since that time more than seven different SVT vehicles have been produced, including several versions of the Cobra (both coupe and convertible) and the Shelby GT500, the F-150 Lightning performance pickup and Raptor off-road versions, the SVT Contour sports sedan, plus both three- and five-door versions of the SVT Focus – as well as special SVT Mustang Cobra 'R' models in 1993, '95 and 2000, plus the Ford GT supercar in 2005-06.
The core values of Ford SVT were established as Performance, Substance, Exclusivity and Value. To the engineers at SVT, performance means increased power, supple yet confident road manners, and balance among engine, suspension and braking systems. Substance means driving character that is built in, not added on. SVT exclusivity comes from low-volume, limited-production products designed for enthusiast owners. And SVT has always been dedicated to value, delivering products that offer the highest level of performance and driving dynamics for the money. It remains as one of longest-running, most-successful high-performance vehicle programs in American automotive history.