Ford secrecy before Detroit auto show spurs speculation

Ford secrecy before Detroit auto show spurs speculation

Michael Martinez, The Detroit News9:32 p.m. EST January 11, 2015

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(Photo: David Coates / The Detroit News)

From teaser images to early reveals, many of the vehicles to be shown to the world’s automotive press Monday and Tuesday already have been shown in one way or another.

But Ford Motor Co. isn’t among those that have chosen to jump out in front of the official press days.

There’s widespread speculation from industry analysts, as well as Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan, that Ford will unveil performance vehicles including a successor to its GT supercar, a track-ready GT350R Shelby Mustang and an F-150 Raptor truck.

Ford declined repeatedly to talk about its plans ahead of its scheduled 9:10 a.m. Monday time on the international automotive stage. Unlike other automakers, whose press conferences are held at their exhibition space at Cobo Center, Ford’s press conference is at the adjacent Joe Louis Arena.

When asked last week what he was looking forward to, Duggan said: “Ford’s going to do a new GT I hear.”

Giving additional weight to the speculation that it would show performance vehicles: In early December, Ford announced a new global performance division and said it would introduce more than 12 performance vehicles through 2020. The Dearborn-based automaker announced a Focus RS would come to North America, but didn’t say when it would be revealed.

A new supercar would not only succeed the GT of a decade back, but also the original GT40 race car that swept to victory at the 24 Hours of Le Mans a half-century ago.

“The Ford GT has a long and storied history, and Ford is set to reveal something juicy in Detroit with the next GT,” Akshay Anand, analyst at Kelley Blue Book’s KBB.com, said in a statement Sunday night.

“Interestingly, there has been a lot of talk about the new GT using an EcoBoost V-6 as opposed to a higher displacement engine. It will be very interesting to see what media and public perception of this is; as for supercars, oftentime, bigger is better in terms of engine size.”

Last month at the Los Angeles Auto Show, Ford showed a Shelby GT350 Mustang powered by a flat-plane crankshaft 5.2-liter V-8 engine that will produce more than 500 horsepower.

It’s Ford’s most powerful naturally aspirated production engine ever, officials said.

Karl Brauer, senior analyst at KBB.com, expects Ford to show a track-ready version Monday.

“The all-new 2015 Mustang has a rich heritage it can draw from as Ford ramps up enthusiasm for the new pony car,” Brauer said in a statement. “The GT350 shown in Los Angeles was the first of many iconic nameplates the new car will wear, while the GT350R shows Ford is serious about establishing the car as a track-weapon of Ford fans who also are serious weekend racers.”

mmartinez@detroitnews.com

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