Ford has obviously been planning this move for some time now. Their marketing guys have surely been waiting and salivating for the precise moment to strike and drop this bomb. It’s brilliant marketing, it really is, but it also shows how afraid they are of the Chevrolet beast. The Mustang, which for the longest time was the de facto best-selling American sports car, has been dethroned by the Chevy Camaro and it looks like Ford was afraid of losing even more market share with the release of the ZL1.
Knowing that Chevrolet has spent the last 6+ months talking up their new Camaro (and, seemingly, with great reason), Ford waited until the precise moment–when Chevrolet announced the vehicle’s price–to strike. They’ve just announced an updated version of their GT500 come 2013 that will be sporting a new, upgraded, 5.8L version of the same engine and promising HP numbers somewhere are 650HP, and a top speed of 200mph+. These numbers are impressive. Very impressive, in fact; also, they’re most certainly a play against the ZL1 to steal some of its thunder as anticipation over the new Camaro has reached a new peak.
Of course, while these numbers are impressive, they didn’t seem to scare Chevrolet. Upon hearing them, Joel Ewanick–the senior VP of Marketing at Chevrolet–came out and said “We should take a Camaro, Ford brings a Mustang, we each pick our drivers, and see who has the best time on the Nürburgring”. This was a direct response to Jim Farley, head of Ford’s marketing division, making a public claim that he would like to “take a bat” to Chevrolet with their new GT500. However, upon hearing of this “I wish we could,” challenge, all Farley had to say was: “I wish we could. Who wouldn’t want to do that?”
Wish you could, but you can’t, or you won’t? This reads to me like maybe Ford’s blue oval is a little yellow about facing the ZL1–which has already released official Nürburgring times. Seems like maybe Ford knows their heavier, solid transaxle Mustang can’t run the ring with the Camaro.
Of course, none of this is meant to lampoon Ford here, either, as the vehicles they’ve made and are in the process of developing have all been fantastic. In fact, when America’s two largest automotive companies start competing head-to-head like this, everybody wins–especially the consumers. Here’s to hoping the release of the GT500, and what will certainly be drag-racing numbers in that vehicle’s favor, will bring GM to continue pushing the envelope and having Ford push back.