2017 Ford GT: What is Ford playing at?
Let me take you back to 2002. The world was a much simpler time: Foot and Mouth disease was still the biggest talking point in British tabloids, David Beckham was still scoring goals for England, Pierce Brosnan and Halle Berry were faffing around in Die Another Day and Girls Aloud went straight to #1 with Sound Of the Underground. However, of much more importance to you and I, Ford were completely dominating the UK market. The Focus was the best selling car at the time, soon to be followed by the Fiesta. Ford was producing cars for 'the people' and it was rather good at it.
Ford then dropped the curtains for the 2002 Ford GT40 concept at that year's Detroit Motor Show. It won over crowd after crowd with its retro looks, striking ‘go fast’ racing stripes but understandably most attention and awe was correctly directed towards the powertrain, which was undeniably its pièce de résistance. A 5.4L American big block supercharged V8 that also came in right hand drive? British fans were soon swooning all over it.
13-14 years on we find ourselves in 2016 in a similar situation. A new Ford GT is on its way and it is getting just as much attention. The new car has the intention of moving on from where the old car left off. It aims to successfully mix some nostalgia from the designs of its ancestors with some 21st century ultramodern technology.
[caption id=attachment_5177" align="aligncenter" width="800] A proper classic Ford GT40 - image credit Rex Gray[/caption]
What is the problem:
It all comes down to how Ford are treating customers interested in purchasing the 2017 GT. At a first glance all seems well, Ford seems to be on the ball. The 2017 GT product launch is going in exactly the right direction if you were to listen to Ford’s Product Chief Raj Nair: “There’s a loyal following to the car. We want to prioritize people who are going to care about the car, keep the car and drive the car.” That sounds great, no?
At first you have to admire their intentions. Ford appears to want their pride and joy, their halo car, to go to a loving family and is putting just as much effort into the vetting process as if you were putting your beloved 5 month old Golden Labrador puppy up for adoption. But when you dig deeper, the control and regulations are simply insane.
The criteria to buy a 2017 Ford GT:
You must have a large social media presence: We are not all Shmee150, as much as I admire his success, a life/career in front of a camera on Youtube is not something we can all achieve and it is not something we all want to achieve. If I have the money to purchase a 2017 Ford GT, why should I share it with the world through social media? What if the car is awful? What if it is unreliable? If I have a huge social media presence and your car breaks down repeatedly, what would you have achieved Ford?
You must be a loyal Ford customer: This might make more sense in the USA, where you have been able to buy fast expensive Fords for a long time and there are more sought after collectibles. But on the other side of the Atlantic, what does this mean for us? Should Ford prioritise someone who learned to drive in a 2002 Ford Fiesta over someone who owns a Ferrari 250GTO? The whole system seems bizarre and open to exploitation. There are a lot of people who are justifiably upset by this whole fiasco.
You must not flip the car: With the amount of limited edition cars appreciating in price as soon as they roll off of the production like (yes, I'm looking at you Porsche), the practice of purchasing one of these sought after cars with the intention of selling them at a higher price in the not so distant future has become exponentially popular in recent years. This is frowned upon by enthusiasts as it usually results in the cars not being driven and staying in air-conditioned garages until someone offers crazy money for it. Is it a shame the car will not be driven as intended, absolutely. This is something us car fanatics disapprove of but as soon as a car company starts telling you what you can and cannot do with a vehicle you've spent high 6 figures on, then questions should be asked. It is not an illegal practice, it is not even an immoral practice. It is capitalism.
Where does that leave us?
The launch of the 2017 Ford GT should have been impressive, it was almost flawless. The media and fan hype surrounding the vehicle is incredible yet it all leaves a bad taste in my mouth. Judging from the online reaction to the confirmation/refusal emails sent this week I think Ford might have gone too far and inadvertently upsetting some of its most important customers and fans. This is behaviour we have come to accept from companies such as Ferrari. Ford has historically been a company producing cars for the people, should we accept such diva-esque demands?
Please let me know in either the comment section below or on the Forum as to whether you agree with me. Has Ford taken it too far with the launch of the 2017 Ford GT?