By on January 14, 2015

2017-Ford-GT-18

TTAC and the Blue Oval have a wonderful back channel that bears all kinds of fruit. Information on the new Mustang, the F-150’s aluminum construction, the subsequent delays in manufacturing aluminum bodies and the Raptor’s upcoming EcoBoost engine were just some of the scoops we’ve obtained via our sources. We also blew it when we called BS on the new Ford GT.

As it turned out, the car is real. But it’s being done outside of normal channels, and this could have potential negative consequences for buyers of this very exclusive, very expensive supercar. A few of our sources penned this editorial to help shed some light on the matter. They are drawing on their collective experience in various functions to help illustrate how the GT was developed, and why the secret, skunkworks nature of the project could be negative.

If you’ve read any media outlet (automotive or otherwise), you’ll know that the new Ford performance group will be releasing 12 performance inspired vehicles coming before 2020.  The star of the show is the Ford GT, with its carbon fiber construction and mid-mounted EcoBoost V6 engine. The reception from the press could not have been any more enthusiastic. The last thing we need is to throw more lube on the collective media hand job for this car.

TRIGGER WARNING: The following editorial might be offensive to Ford fanboys, supercar geeks and those who aren’t acquainted with the way things work inside Ford. You have been warned.

When Derek gave us a call about the initial rumors of the GT, we figured it was bullshit. Derek went and published a story based on the best information we had, which was that this car did not exist, and was a media fantasy concocted to gin up some pageviews. It turns out we were wrong for the right reasons, and Derek went with the information he had.

See, normal production cars follow Ford’s Global Production Development system.  At the tail end of GPDS is a coordination of multifunctional teams, who orchestrate a vehicle launch that entails the manufacturing of a vehicle that meets internal quality standards at Job 1.  This car was not developed utilizing normal production channels within FoMoCo.  It wasn’t greenlit by the same decision makers that funnel product into GPDS projects controlled by Ford’s internal QOS (Quality Operating System).

A full explanation of GPDS would be an editorial broaching 5000 words, so we’ll focus on one specific part, where the design is taken from the studio and funneled into manufacturing.  There are four divisions of engineering that guide product along a launch QOS once it leaves the studio. Vehicle Operations (manufacturing engineers, known as VOMEs), STA’s (Supplier Technical Assistance engineers), and D&R’s (Design and Release engineers). Design and Release engineers take the design from the design studio and funnel it into a production system.

These engineers are divided into Program Management Teams – Body Exterior, Body Interior, Chassis, Powertrain, Electrical, and Vehicle Engineering / Integration. After launch, these D&R’s follow the product after PPAP (Production Part Approval Process) to ensure warranty and customer issues are actively handled by either design or manufacturing initiatives. Vehicle Operations Manufacturing Engineering handles all tooling, manpower and processes at the plant level.  Sheet metal stamping, body fabrication, paint and final assembly.

They are masters of the production operating systems and plant QOS’s.  They know what can and cannot be controlled by the OEM when it comes to critical and significant characteristics of the design.  What links the STA to VOME is the control of pass through characteristics from the supplier.  There are certain design elements that you want to control (dictated by the D&R’s DFMEA) and if the OEM plant doesn’t have the man, material or machine (most of the time, in house quality is stifled by labor costs), the supplier has to control it.  STA ensures the supplier is production ready prior to launch.

They also work through the launch and into production to ensure the supplier is producing good product.  This is usually done by following up on warranty and incoming quality issues and ensuring robust containment and permanent corrective actions are administered by the supplier.  Lastly, VE/VI engineers would ensure pre-production drive fleets meet NVH and performance standards expected by the customer.

Since this super car is non-GPDS (or doesn’t show evidence of this) and didn’t follow the internal avenues that Ford products normally follow (including the 2005-era GT), all the above has not and will not occur for this program.

If the above is correct, we can assume this car is a small capital project.  We can assume that Ford Racing / Performance did most of the design work.  It would also make sense if the suppliers / contract manufacturers ( which we understand to be Multimatic) are doing full service ‘launch’ support.  Did durability drives, pre-production test fleets or internal quality audits identify issues prior to production?  We can safely assume all quality functions of this product were handled by the design team who developed it.  Ford Racing and Performance single handedly launched this product (with the assistance of Multimatic).  You are driving a car designed by a team focused solely on performance and making a big splash for Ford Marketing. Sounds great, right? Well, it’s less than optimal when your flagship $300,000 supercar (yes, it will be that expensive) has a questionable pedigree in production and quality operating systems.

The vetting process was most likely limited to virtual simulations and track days.  APQP was probably an afterthought. The upside is that this is reminiscent of the days of engineers making race cars out of vehicles that they pluck from the chassis line.  It’s a romantic idea, but these days, consumers expect their supercar to not be a complete piece of shit, even if it’s a hand-built exotic..  The 2000’s era GT had its share of quality issues and that had production support at the plant level. We can only imagine how this is going down. Ford is pushing a great story, talking about how the car was designed in secret in a basement. But we know that the “secret” basement area is really a damp, mouldy chamber where suppliers are relegated to. In all likelihood, it was penned, dropped in the lap of Multimatic and will resemble a giant scale model kit when completed. Don’t believe the hype.

This leads me to another important facet of GPDS – the plant manufacturing engineer.  The supplier, STA engineer and plant vehicle team engineer (PVT) monitor customer satisfaction metrics.  The PVT keeps their thumbs on the goal and drives the VOME team and supplier to meet that goal.  The bar is set to yield better product to the customer.  Since this is a limited run or 300 units, you can bet your ass that there isn’t any PVT support for this program.

The prior GT was built at Wixom Assembly Plant.  It followed GPDS.  It had a support structure.  Whether that system worked for it is up for debate.  The 2016 GT is as ‘Ford’ as the “stock” cars that pound the pavement at Talladega.  What we witnessed was a Halo car propped up to serve the heritage of the company and to promote the Ecoboost/Racing tie-in. The GT is a great marketing exercise. The NAIAS introduction – with no advance leaks, no embargoes and no build-up, was masterful. It looks like every boy’s dream car. But it’s nothing more than a marketing exercise being brought to life in a slap-dash manner.

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123 Comments on “Ur-Turn: The Hater’s Guide To The Ford GT...”


  • avatar
    Noble713

    *shrug*

    I’d still buy it.

    The concise insights into Ford’s product operations were an interesting read, though.

  • avatar
    carguy67

    You’re absolutely correct. In fact, we should never have allowed Kelly Johnson and the Skunk Works to operate outside Lockheed’s normal design and production channels and we wouldn’t have such POS’s as the F117 and the SR-71, which have been proven to be catastrophic failures.

    I see what you’re doing here: You’re throwing down the marker so if the GT does have significant design and production issues you’ll appear prescient and, if not, well who’s gonna hold you accountable?

    At this point, I’m willing to give F the benefit of the doubt; they just might know what they’re doing.

    • 0 avatar
      bachewy

      I’ll agree the F-117 was a glossed-over failure. It wasn’t as stealthy as advertised with the pilot instead using maneuver to avoid radar instead of his ‘stealth skin’. Then we had the optical shoot down of one over Bosnia.

      The SR-71 a failure, though? How? It was hugely successful in getting intel quicker than any thing else at the time. It also outran every missile fired at it. Sure it was expensive and difficult to maintain but it performed its missions with ease.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        “Then we had the optical shoot down of one over Bosnia.”

        I have always wondered about that, I read so many various rumors at the time but there was never a good explanation IIRC.

        • 0 avatar
          Silence

          It was an operational failure, not a failure of stealth.

          They flew virtually the same route every mission.

          The Serb general was also a technician, so he realized that low frequency radar would be useful for letting them know something was in the air. Not what, not where…but when.

          They put up many mobile low frequency radar stations, so it was only a matter of time before a 117 was in the wrong spot at the wrong time. One was shot down by an optically guided rocket…other methods were ineffective.

          They changed the operations of the aircraft after that, and thus no more shootdowns.

          It was the over reliance on technology and not the technology itself that lead to the failure of the mission.

  • avatar
    forzablu

    But…but…but…This is how all the internet car blog commenters said cars should be developed!11! You mean to tell me they don’t know best?!

    /s

  • avatar
    Lie2me

    Your insights are a real value added to TTAC, but boy are you going to ruffle some feathers with this

  • avatar
    danio3834

    Triggered.

  • avatar

    I like it!!!

  • avatar
    James2

    Anonymous knows how Ford does things, but also sounds like he/she has an axe to grind since he/she was apparently kept out of the loop.

    I’m confused, though. Anonymous says the last Ford GT was done via the normal processes, but that car was nevertheless riddled with problems. Maybe, for this kind of limited-production car, going the Multimatic route and with less ‘alphabet soup’ participation might be the best way.

  • avatar
    Gandhi

    Given the timeline, there might be some truth to this. After all, it is supposed to come out in 2016. Two years is not a lot of time for validation and testing. Even Ferrari has prototypes running around Maranello before the final production version is announced.

  • avatar
    ckb

    All the gritty details to back up this post:

    https://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/makes-expensive-cars-terrible-anyway/

    This car will have no where near the durability of a fusion…then again does it need to? Most of these will live their lives in garages and collect ~1000 miles/year. With only 300 units there aren’t many edge cases to worry about, especially considering how pampered most of these will be. No teenager is going to try and put it in a washing machine, etc.

    Another major factor working in favor of this car is that ford made over 4k of the last GT. With only 300 of these and over 2x the cost, Ford can probably afford to spend a lot more time one each one making sure it works (which they may or may not do)…or maybe all the extra money goes straight to exclusivity.

    Then there’s that ecoboost. Maybe they tuned it up to 11 but the engine still had the benefit of many thousands of hours of R&D since it has to last 300k+ miles in work trucks. Surely there is enough margin for the one unit of this car that someone will break 100k miles with.

    In summary, I’d buy it. Warts and all.

  • avatar
    dwford

    Didn’t we just decide last week that people with money don’t care about exotic cars “quirks?” Ford will sell every one of them.

  • avatar
    rentonben

    If the GT was a $50,000 car, this analysis and conculsion would have to be true.

    But if the suppliers are given wads of cash based on the $300,000 price, and the design is simple and robust, this may not necessarily be a bucket of bolts.

  • avatar
    John R

    As I’ve said. Who doesn’t love drama.

  • avatar
    bryanska

    Is there anything about quality that had fundamentally changed in the past 10 years? Maybe adjusting one of our assumptions might yield a different result than the 2000’s GT quality problems.

    Also, where’s that Chrysler 200 comparison you promised us?

    TLDR: your free blog isn’t delighting me. I want something for nothing!

  • avatar
    LeMansteve

    Thanks for the deep dive into the Ford GPDS and QOS structures. All the acronyms bring me back to my days at the Tier 2 level, supporting Ford airbag programs. By the way, PPAP stands for Production Part Approval Process. APQP stands for Advanced Product Quality Planning. The PPAP process is just one part of APQP.

    Here is an additional perspective on the <=300 vehicle production and the . As part of APQP and PPAP, at the supplier level a 300-piece statistical capability study is required to prove process capability. This is a key piece of data especially when you are getting ready to make millions of identical parts. Maybe that all goes out the window if this production run is being limited to a maximum of 300 vehicles.

    • 0 avatar
      tresmonos

      You can still use surrogate data for low volume. We are doing some capability and R&R’s using non production intent parts to prove out tooling capability.

      I wonder if they do full dimensionals for each piece of the 300 part run? My guess would be yes.

  • avatar
    JMII

    It sounds like the new GT was designed and built the way almost ALL other “super cars” are. Without interference from some huge corporate overlord. Just a bunch of crazy engineers in a basement. Thus the street creed on this car just went WAY up. So it will break down just like any Lambo or Ferrari. Understood… now how can I get one?

    • 0 avatar
      greaseyknight

      IIRC Ford did something similar in designing the new 6.7 Scorpion diesel. They moved all the engineers off site and outside of the normal processes. Its seemed to have worked, only major issue so far is the ceramic bearings in the early turbos tend to fail under high load.

      • 0 avatar
        Wheeljack

        And the turbo is likely an “off the shelf” part (or lightly modified to fit the application) from a supplier like IHI, Garrett or Holset, who would have design responsibility for their component. So, unless Ford specified that ceramic bearing or the vehicle does not provide adequate cooling/lubrication to make the turbo live in the environment it has to operate in, then it probably isn’t Ford’s fault, although that doesn’t matter to the customer of course.

  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    Seems to me like $300,000 is a bit high for a GT. Because that’s SLR money!

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      How much was the ’05 GT?

      • 0 avatar
        CoreyDL

        Per Wiki:

        Ford increased the MSRP to $149,995 on July 1, 2005.

        So this is TWICE as much? I don’t buy it.

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          Twice as much and no V8, that stings a little.

          How many of these will be bought directly by the Ford family so they can claim a sellout?

          • 0 avatar
            David Walton

            Substantial inflation (i.e., dollar devaluation) over the past decade, as well as additional, expensive feature content (cf tub, pushrod suspension) will contribute to higher pricing.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            Higher pricing yes, but “Take your offer, and double it!” no.

            Let’s say 190K before options.

          • 0 avatar
            FreedMike

            28, Corey, you’re just so stuck in 2005…when things weren’t awesome just because they were overpriced.

            Catch up with the times, men!

            (I’m sure the new tech and carbon fiber construction are part of the cost, but, yeah, $300000 sounds a bit much)

          • 0 avatar
            brenschluss

            How many million-dollar new cars were there in 2005? One? How many are there now? I don’t even know.

            Things are more expensive now because everyone has discovered that many markets respect whimsical pricing schemes.

            So, in this category, the more they cost, the faster they’ll sell. I’m surprised this wasn’t $500,000, though Ford is the budget brand.

      • 0 avatar
        VenomV12

        @28,

        Technically it was $150,000, my neighbor who still has his and is an original owner paid about $210,000 or so for his so the new pricing really isn’t that out of line I guess.

    • 0 avatar
      LuciferV8

      Being powered by a V6 isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but for $300K? At that price, they should have just kept this thing a concept car.

    • 0 avatar
      philadlj

      The LFA cost $375,000, but Toyota lost money on every one.

      I don’t imagine this will be profitable either.

  • avatar
    DeadWeight

    It doesn’t sound as if Ford Racing has the bona fides to PRODUCE a “supercar” in the useability in a daily driver type or way that Ferrari, Porsche, Lamborghini, etc. do.

    If this is on the order if 200 to 300 unit volume, they’ll probably do a “you belong to our race program now” and get to do dun stuff on a F1 style track 6 times a year, Silicon Valley nouveaux riche boy.

    Great article, btw.

    • 0 avatar
      VCplayer

      I’m not sure how useable most Ferraris or Lambos are as daily drivers either. Or real Porsche’s for that matter.

      This really isn’t designed to be a daily driver for anyone not worth 10+ figures anyways.

  • avatar
    Ihatejalops

    I don’t see what the problem is. It’s irrelevant If they developed it outside normal channels, in fact keeping some things quiet is best and has worked for Ford. I guess this is a good article, but at the same time most of us aren’t product planners (although maybe some of us should be) and the product process for Ford does seem flawed and griping by internal employees does not give us real insight.

    The only issue with the car? No V8. Now that’s flawed.

    I get it that it might be the strategy to show off their eco-boost can go into “performance” cars but that’s rather heavy handed brand marketing. Some things when you’re trying to make “Halo” cars should have what’s wanted rather than some brand effort. The Raptor should have V8 too. These are “desire” vehicles.

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      You don’t necessarily need a V-8 if the weight is kept low enough. In fact, if the goal is light weight, then I’d rather have a high output six than a V-8, which would probably weigh more unless it had some exotic block.

      • 0 avatar
        Ihatejalops

        It’s not about weight, but more of the purist aspect of it. American performance cars have v8’s and not turbo’s. You’re making a halo car; people like v8’s and the grunt, you stick one in. Worked out well for the new vette.

        • 0 avatar
          suspekt

          Except Ford is banking on Eco-boost technology and went as far as putting it on the Raptor. I think it makes perfect sense.

          • 0 avatar
            Ihatejalops

            I said that in my post and I think it’s a sad attempt at brand cohesion/marketing. Do what your customers want.

        • 0 avatar
          Maymar

          Yes, American performance cars have V8s and not turbos. Except the Buick Grand National/GNX. And the Mustang SVO, Thunderbird Turbo Coupe. And a plethora of 80’s Mopars (and the Consulier that shared their engine), and the SRT-4s later on. Or, even going further back, the Corvair Monza.

          • 0 avatar
            Ihatejalops

            Mustangs, GT’s, Camaro’s, Challenger, Charger, Vette (other than the first 1), Vipers and any true American sports car has a V8. All that other shit is horse crap and long gone.

          • 0 avatar
            Maymar

            Well, that’s just, like, your opinion, man.

            Besides, from an ideological perspective, something like this may well attract a different buyer. If you want V8 grunt (or similar), the Corvette already exists, you could even bump up to a Viper, and there’s always the Hellcat, or more track-focused versions of the Camaro, or even Ford’s own GT350.

            But, I think it reasonable to say there’s a generation of buyers (who grew up with their view of performance cars shaped by Gran Turismo and Sport Compact Magazine) who never got that hung up on V8s, and might be looking to upgrade from their GT-R soon, and if any of the domestics could even hope to get their attention, it’s Ford.

            Now, it might be terrible, but that won’t simply boil down to 6<8.

      • 0 avatar
        Wheeljack

        I believe someone pointed out in the prior article that the Coyote V-8 weighs less than the twin-turbo 3.5L EcoBoost anyway. They could have used the flat-plane 5.2L and found ways to up the power to 600+ HP since the engine doesn’t need to meet the typical durability targets (150,000 miles) of volume production vehicles.

        • 0 avatar
          Lou_BC

          @Wheeljack – The Ecoboost is 5 lbs heavier than the 5.0 Coyote. IIRC the EB 3.5 is slightly wider.

        • 0 avatar
          Big Al from Oz

          @Wheeljack,
          So how much will the counter weights on the crank weigh?

          Also, many make comparisons between the 3.5 EcoBoost and the 5 litre Coyote. This is a false comparison.

          The 3.5 EcoBoost was not designed to replace the Coyote, but the 6.2 V8.

          I do think the 3.5 is lighter than the 6.2.

  • avatar
    Luper

    I agree that this is a very interesting dive into Ford’s product development process. And as a disclaimer, I’ve never worked in the auto industry. But for the sake of the type of informed discussion that TTAC is known for, there certainly can be another side to this story. As someone who has been involved in the development and manufacture of technology products for many years, I’m pretty sure that there are also some pretty intelligent and knowledgeable folks at both Ford Racing/Performance as well as the OEM suppliers for the GT project who understand quality systems, DFMEA analysis, and other tenets so valuable to designing and building a quality product. I’ve worked at companies that regularly utilize external, third-party development teams for new product with great success–especially if the product is going to be low-volume and built ‘outside’ of the normal manufacturing process. Is it possible for a small, but focused, development team to produce product requirements and engineering specs that are well sorted, and a robust verification and validation protocol (which is quite different for a fixed run of 300 units than 30,000 units)?

    It seems like the real questions is NOT whether or not a team of people who have not utilized Ford’s GPDS can produce a vehicle with as good or better quality as one that has. It’s whether or not they can produce a vehicle that is good enough to satisfy the potential buyers. As the previous discussion on TTAC of quality and high-priced vehicles has pointed out, and with some realistic assumptions about the basic competence of the GT development team, it seems like the answer could certainly be a resounding ‘Yeah, baby!’

    • 0 avatar
      Car-los

      I think Luper you have a very good point here. To assume that this venture is going to be a fiasco just because it’s not following the usual “bureaucratic” path it’s not enough argument to make such an statement at this early point in the process.

      Is it a possibility that since this article originates from a Ford insider, that this person or group of persons might resent the fact that they and or their departments were left out of this exiting project?

      I’m not saying that this article is entirely subjective, I think the author(s) has (have) made a very valid point, but only as one of the many possible outcomes of this project. And that’s where I see the lack of objectivity.

      I for one which Ford all the success in this very exiting project, and I also hope that all the points that the author(s) object(s) might be just a risky and bold strategy from Ford to create a truly driver-focus car.

      Time will tell.

  • avatar
    sirwired

    So, it’ll likely be unreliable, not particularly long-lived, and have all sorts of fussy problems.

    Like any other exotic supercar then?

    Really, reading this article sounds like a bunch of sour grapes by engineers that wanted to be along for the ride. This car won’t be a mainstream-usable and mainstream-reliable car and it’s not intended to be, so I don’t see it as a inevitably-crippling problem that it did not go through the regular (lengthy and expensive) bureaucratic process.

    • 0 avatar
      Greg Locock

      If you think its sour grapes then you’ve probably never worked on a supercar project. I have worked on a couple. Boring.

    • 0 avatar
      Wheeljack

      Honestly, I think if they use as much as possible from the existing “parts bin”, including hardware (things like turn signal stalks and window switches) and system architecture (like electrical systems, bus communication systems, etc.) this car should be much more reliable than other exotics that don’t have the size and scope that Ford does.

      When it come to the unique parts like chassis, suspension, body, etc. that stuff can be overbuilt, hand fitted and hand inspected to ensure that it is as robust and well designed as possible, hence the $300,000 price.

      I was once involved with the build of a running/working show vehicle based on an older vehicle from the 1970’s. We built a completely custom suspension for it, but it was based on sound principles and robust hardware and used common components for the “wear” stuff like bushings, ball joints, etc. so it could be repaired later by whomever ended up with the vehicle (yes it was sold). Now, if someone bends a trailing arm, they are going to have to have one fabbed up from scratch, but that’s not too difficult for an experienced welder.

  • avatar
    MrIcky

    It’s not a real super-car unless it has a 1/5 chance of spontaneous combustion. Sounds like Ford is aiming for the big leagues.

  • avatar
    Chopsui

    This article positively reeks of sour grapes. Not that it matters to me one way or the other since I’ll never be able to afford one.

    Now the GT350 on the other hand…

  • avatar
    Pig_Iron

    Wow, what I did for 2 decades in nutshell. The only thing I’d add is regulatory compliance, which has become even more important with global vehicles.

    To be fair, suppliers follow exactly the same design, development, release and launch process per their ISO/TS 16949 certification, and they have to be able to prove it at any point along the way. I don’t think Multimatic would sign up for this if they didn’t have access to Ford’s prove out facilities.

    Problems encountered during development can lead to spiralling cost creep and escalation. The GR-1 could have potentially been developed from the Mustang platform for a fraction of the cost.

    Is this Mark Shield’s personal great debut car? I detect a note of resentment/betrayal in the column above. What does it say when the skipper doesn’t trust the crew with a halo project?

  • avatar
    tjh8402

    On the one hand, I see the authors’ point. This car will undoubtedly have bugs at launch. Then again, so have many other Ford products. The much lauded QC process didn’t do the Escape launch any favors, and that vehicle was not nearly as ambitious as this car is for Ford, and much more important to the overall bottom line. Looking at values of the last GT, its issues at launch haven’t harmed the market for it one bit.

    As many above commenters have noted, quirks and glitches are relatively well tolerated in this class of car. the far more mainstream GT-R managed to survive its rash of launch control induced $20k transmission grenades. Porsche GT3 owners undoubtedly didn’t appreciate being told to park and not drive their six figure German engineering masterpieces but they’re still selling every one. Leave it to Toyota to somehow pull off the LFA glitch free (to my knowledge). No matter what, ownership of this car would not resemble your typical car, a previously higher end but still mainstream performance model like a Stingray, GT500, or Boss 302, or probably even a GT-R, 911 GT3, or Z06 . Most dealers will never see one. You won’t be able to take it to just any mechanic, or even any dealer for service.

    That being said, its not as though Ford Racing and Multimatic have no experience with owners who are particular about their cars, considering the number of race teams they support. If the GT does indeed cost $300k, then you could probably buy and race a PWC Boss 302 for a season, so I imagine (and hope for Fords sake) that they can appreciate what the buyer of this car is putting out and what level of service they would expect (and will likely pay for). As far as production numbers go, they need to build at least 300 to homologate it for Le Mans (2500 if they want to move the engine, but I don’t see that being necessary).

  • avatar
    gottacook

    I still don’t get the use of “Ur-Turn”; having studied German, I automatically construe it as starting with the Ur prefix: “Original turn from which all others derived? What does that mean?”

  • avatar
    319583076

    Sour grapes – Quality Control and Process people are low-value, high-noise personnel in my experience. I’m sure the GT will be OK without your Six Sigma Lean Black Belt qualified eyes rubber-stamping the paperwork and production orders.

  • avatar
    LuciferV8

    “Trigger warning”

    Heh.

    Glad to see the mockery of insane SJW culture is beginning to spread (or should I say manspread?).

    Keep the interesting articles coming, my bi-intersectional, heteromotorfascist, cis-pozitractional friends.

  • avatar
    dal20402

    Will it matter if quality is below Ford’s usual standard? At all?

    The only contact Ford’s target audience will ever have with one of these is through pictures and magazine reviews. It’s pretty, so the pictures are taken care of. The magazine reviews will be just fine as long as the car throws down good numbers (probably partly through ringer engines) and can survive a few track sessions.

    When 5 to 10 of the 300 cars catch fire, and the rest are temperamental, it will just be normal behavior for exotics, and/or the owners’ fault. It works great for Ferrari – it can work for Ford too.

  • avatar
    superchan7

    The target Ford GT customer likely cares very little about how typical development and manufacturing organizations have been bypassed.

    Skunk works teams produce a skunk works car. Any new car will have problems, and Ford will work out the terms with its customers on how to resolve any that persist after delivery. This is easy enough for a production run of a few hundred or even a few thousand units.

    The previous GT had around 4000 units produced…not exactly Focus-level. Ford’s problem would probably have been something like, “Was it really the best idea to shove our 4000-unit model through our established organizations that are optimized for 4-million-unit models?”

  • avatar
    autojim

    Grrrr. WordPress ate my comment.

  • avatar
    Ryoku75

    I don’t understand why Ford would even make another GT, their current line-ups good enough imo, apart from hit or miss face-lifts and minor software gremlins reported in the last Road and Track.

    If I had the money for this I sure wouldn’t buy this thing, too ugly and too pricey for a supercar with a plain V6 in it.

    For the money I’d get a new Corvette with a REAL V8 in it, and I take that back. I could buy TWO Corvettes with REAL V8s in them, and have a bit of gas money left over.

    • 0 avatar
      superchan7

      In a rational world everyone would buy the common product that works almost as well as the exclusive product (sometimes even better).

      In that world, I would own a WRX STi because it’s crazy fast, and it even has 4 doors and a sizable trunk.

      But I’m not rational like that, at least when it comes to sports cars. A Vette has 90% of the performance of a Viper, but costs barely half and has far fewer compromises. I would still want a Viper–any year–more than a C7.

      • 0 avatar
        Ryoku75

        At $88k-$109k You could buy two fully loaded SRT Vipers for the price of a GT and still have several grand left, enough for gas and a decent winter beater.

        Thus, an SRT Viper would still be a more rational choice than a GT.

    • 0 avatar
      VCplayer

      I think the GT is really just going to be advertising fodder for various Ford technologies that will trickle down into other vehicles over time. Going cheap on the development makes sense.

      • 0 avatar
        Ryoku75

        Yea but when you can get a fully-loaded Viper or Corvette for less than half I would think that Ford could make a more competitive product if they’re going to be cheapskates.

        • 0 avatar
          hybridkiller

          ^^^This is precisely what makes absolutely no sense to me about this car.

          I guess it’s so they can say, look, here’s a car for only truly wealthy people – and it’s got an EcoBoost power plant in it.

          ???

        • 0 avatar
          mkirk

          And I can buy like 30 Mitsubishi Mirages for that price. Who Cares? This looks to be a road going race car…not an american “bang for the buck” sports car.

          • 0 avatar
            Ryoku75

            Buying 30 Mirages is irrelevant, I’m talking specifically high-end sports cars and exotics.

            As far as I know this GT has no racing pedigree, name aside.

            If you want a modern car with a real race pedigree you can buy two Porsche 911 GT3s for the price of a Ford GT, and still have $40,000 for gas and other costs.

          • 0 avatar
            tjh8402

            @Ryoku75 – this car uses the engine from the Sebring winning Daytona Protoype. Ford has tapped Ganassi Racing to campaign the car for them. Expectations are that it will run at the Rolex 24, 12 Hours of Sebring, 24 Hours of Le Mans and a full season in the World Endurance Championship and/or Tudor United Sports Car Championship. Jalopnik is saying the car could race later this year but 2016 seems more realistic. 2016 is also the 50th anniversary of Fords first Le Mans win, the dominating 1-2-3.

  • avatar
    autojim

    I’m going to attempt to recreate the post that WP ate.

    I spent 18+ years in Detroit working on product lines ranging from 12k/year (min 4 year program) to 500k/year volume. I’ve been doing something different now, where “volume production” means we’re making 2 of them. Usually, the prototype *is* the production piece.

    So it doesn’t surprise me a bit that this new GT is running outside of the GPDS protocol. GPDS is, frankly, near its lower limits with a sub-10k niche submodel (think GT350, GT500, etc.) of a higher-volume model. It’s geared toward big volumes — and it does a mighty fine job at it.

    But the mindset for a 300-unit run is very, very different. A personal example:

    Scene: I’m designing a piece that I envision being a simple (cope-and-drag, plus one very simple core) machined casting.

    Boss: “Hey, that looks good. How are you thinking we’ll make that?”
    Me: “Oh, it’s a machined casting. Cheap and ea…”
    Boss: “You do realize we’re talking about making maybe 6 of these, right?”
    Me: “Six prototypes?”
    Boss: “Six, ever, total.”
    Me: “Ah.”
    Boss: “I’ll come back later…”

    I redesigned it as a two-piece unit that could be machined from bar stock, because even though the casting tooling I was looking at would have only been around $15k (which is CHEAP for tooling, even soft tooling), there was no way I’d make it back on lower piece costs compared to CNC machining the two pieces from bar and threading them together, at least not for only 6 (or even 10) units. I worked out the break-even would be around 30 units.

    Additionally, this isn’t Multimatic’s first rodeo on a vehicle. They, along with Saleen, did the bulk of the work on the previous GT (Wixom did final assembly and not a whole lot else — the chassis came in assembled from a Multimatic/Saleen shop in Troy, IIRC). Multimatic has also been heavily involved in the various FR500[C,S], Boss 302S, and Cobra Jet programs, which admittedly are not street-legal vehicles and thus don’t have the full gamut of regulatory situations to deal with. However, Ford itself has the resources to deal with the regulatory issues, particularly safety and emissions, so that’s covered a different way.

    Realistically, a shop like a Roush or a Multimatic is the right answer for a 300-unit run. Both of those companies already do prototype programs with similar volumes for the Detroit 3. They, along with other companies like AVL and Ricardo (who provided the custom turn-key transaxle for the previous GT), already do low-volume production of major components such as engines, transmissions, and chassis/suspension components. It’s not a huge stretch to go to final assembly. Roush and Multimatic also do niche-vehicle calibration and systems integration for Ford already (a lot of the production SVT line in North America over the last 22 years has been calibrated by Roush personnel, for example).

    GPDS is geared toward big volume. Even a 300+ unit 1PP or 4P build is done as a stepping-stone to volume, not an end unto itself.

    For this, Ford (and its suppliers) can do the 300-unit run + an acceptable number of spares on tooling that is more toward the “soft” side and less toward the “we’ve gotta make 100k+ per year for 5 years before major tooling refurb/replacement” typical hard production tooling. There are any number of high-quality players already in Ford’s supply chain who can do this sort of niche work.

    What’s more, at low volume, you can give more attention to each individual part — essentially, we’re talking 100% inspection being the norm, rather than doing a statistical sample. This also applies to the assembly process. Think Romeo Niche Line (actually, a more accurate comparison would be EMDO, where some of the Cobra R models have had their engines assembled & tested) or Rolls Royce, not Dearborn Assembly Plant.

    It really does take a shift in mindset to handle very low volume programs when you’re used to doing big volume. It doesn’t mean quality will automatically suffer on the low-volume project just because it doesn’t use the high-volume PDS… on the contrary, a PDS tailored to the lower volume will enhance quality.

    To the authors: Yeah, it sucks getting locked out of the really fun programs, doesn’t it? Helpful hint: don’t sweat it. The really fun programs are almost always small and have small teams, and the competition to get on one is fierce. I found it better to make my own fun, be good at what I did, and when one of those tiny-but-really-fun programs ran into an issue I was good at fixing, they’d come find me, and I’d get to play in their little sandbox for a while. In the meantime, open your minds a bit to other ways of doing things. It’s helpful.

    • 0 avatar
      LuciferV8

      Comments like this are one of the most important reasons I come here.
      Thank you, sir.

    • 0 avatar
      tresmonos

      This is spot on. I also think that GPDS may be too narrowly used by the authors. You can still have a GPDS program and it just never get handed off to a launch or plant team that coordinate Ford production systems to the program.

      well written, autojim. makes me miss the inner workings of an OEM.

      • 0 avatar
        autojim

        Exactly. Particularly if it’s going into a contract assembly location instead of a Ford-owned assembly plant.

        More than likely, there are indeed Ford production folks working on this. They’re likely associated with the Organization Formerly Known As SVT/SVE (I’m blanking on its present name, Global Performance Vehicles or somesuch), which was geared around doing low-volume niche submodels with lots of outside vendor support. And probably a veteran or two of the previous GT program.

        GPDS is a methodology more than it’s a corporate organization structure, as you suggest. It’s fairly robust, just geared more to support the larger programs that are the OEM’s bread and butter.

        I’ve been away from Detroit and the auto industry for about 6 years now, and I don’t really miss the staggering bureaucracy of Super Mega Giant corporations all that much, but then again I was happiest at a mid-sized supplier where, much like I do where I am now, I owned my projects, so while there’s more personal risk, there’s also a lot more control over the outcome. Read into that what you will. :)

        • 0 avatar
          Athos Nobile

          Well said autojim.

          I have seen my fair share of low volume production and have seen very agile small companies at work.

          That’s why I don’t agree with Derek’s sources, despite the write up being both insightful and interesting.

          I also saw Multitec’s website after reading this piece, and although a book should not be judged by its cover, it looked to me like a (very) serious company and not a bunch of cowboys.

          • 0 avatar
            autojim

            Multimatic has grown substantially in the last 10 or 15 years, both in size and capability. They started out as a suspension tuning & racing shop, IIRC, and cut their teeth in the rapid-response-needed world of racing. That mindset makes them well-suited for this kind of program.

    • 0 avatar
      Kevin Jaeger

      Good comment. I have a close relative that is a design and release engineer at Ford, so I’m not going to denigrate what they do. Most of that cumbersome process is probably necessary for managing common platforms that produce multiple vehicle models assembled in different continents.

      But these guys really ought to admit they have little value to add in such a niche product like this.

      And they sound rather pathetic whining about being left out like this.

    • 0 avatar
      Greg Locock

      Great post

  • avatar
    Mullholland

    Nice article. Great details. I just have one question: Why didn’t anybody at Ford make it look good?
    The proportions from the high profile angle shown for this story make the car appear oddly proportioned and choppy looking. No flow.
    The generation launched in 2005 looked as one might expect, a nicely updated rendition of the original. This, meh. Yea, it’s great that they could “shock the world” but I’d rather have a Lambo, Vette, NSX or even Viper based on the exterior visuals alone. Not this cartoon.

  • avatar
    Scoutdude

    It is not a big deal that they are not using all of the normal production processes for a car that only 300 will be produced. With a car that they are producing thousands or hundred thousands of it is important to carefully validate each and every step of the process because they can not test each and every part that goes into each and every car. Now when you are rolling out only 300 that will cost this much you can test each and every part which will likely be cheaper on a per part basis than the normal validation process where they make test runs, test those parts and then do random testing through out production.

    I’m certain that a few pre-production prototypes will be built and that they will be thrashed to within an inch of their lives, though on test tracks. No they won’t send one to Canada to see if it starts reliably when left out in the snow at -xx degrees but I doubt anyone with the $$$ needed to buy one of these will leave it out in the snow or even attempt to drive it in the snow.

  • avatar
    NoGoYo

    No matter how or where they make it, it needs a different name than “Ford GT”.

  • avatar
    redliner

    The fact they they won’t be perfect from the factory honestly doesn’t matter. Within a few years, most of these will be crashed or sitting in someones car collection, rarely driven.

  • avatar
    wmba

    First of all, great article. Doesn’t really matter if many axes are being ground, it’s informative and not something you’re going to find just anywhere. Congrats for publishing it. The world in general has turned into messy uninformative fuzzy wish-wash spouted by PR types. My favorite piece of current PR rubbish is talking about high strength steel as having high stiffness. No it doesn’t, but most journos have swallowed it hook, line and sinker.

    So far as this project goes, 300 units isn’t much more than a one-off. I’d like to have seen the new flat plane Coyote V8 in it, but it doesn’t have the zoot. All they have to do is screw down the wastegate on the Ecoboost V6 and 600hp or more is readily available.

    At this point, all we can really do is wait and see what emerges. It’ll either be good or not good, but a whole pile of flapping gums right now isn’t going to change that. However, it is fascinating to read about the usual Ford process for mass production cars. The overhead for going that route where hundreds of engineers are involved would drive the price out of sight, in my opinion, for a mere 300 units.

  • avatar
    Mandalorian

    I like it.

    BUT…

    It’s an AMERICAN SUPERCAR. It needs a V8.

  • avatar

    It will be a classic. First non-V8 American supercar! As others follow, kicking and screaming, the first of the new breed. Welcome to the ROW!

  • avatar
    Tinn-Can

    “This car was not developed utilizing normal production channels within FoMoCo.” So it might not be a pile of crap then? Good start…

  • avatar
    mik101

    Good to see most folks here bitching for a V8 have no idea about engine rules for LeMans.
    Thanks for coming out though. The Coyote wasn’t going to cut it.

    • 0 avatar
      Kevin Jaeger

      Yes, it’s hilarious isn’t it.

      Step 1 to building a LeMans race car – start with a supercharged Coyote engine that make it ineligible for the race! With brilliance like that I might need to consider the possibility that Ford Racing knows more about this stuff than whiners on TTAC.

    • 0 avatar
      Kevin Jaeger

      Yes, it’s hilarious, isn’t it?

      The first step to building a LeMans race car – start with an engine that makes it ineligible for the race!

      With brilliance like that it’s possible Ford Racing knows more about this stuff than whiners on TTAC.

      • 0 avatar
        tjh8402

        @Kevin Jaeger – The previous generation Ford GT ran GTE competition non supercharged and I believe with a different Ford V8 (possibly the Ford Racing FR500 motor?). The Viper was granted a waiver for an 8.0 Liter engine, a displacement which was both not stock and and also bigger than the 5.5L limit. Both the C6 and now the C7 Corvettes run with a 5.5L version of the small block, not the 6.2 of the road cars. BMW takes the cake for making a mockery of the spirit of the rules when they swapped the turbo six out for a V8. If Ford can’t get a favorable BoP for the Ecoboost (not out of the question since no one has yet successfully competed with a turbo engine in this class), I wouldn’t be surprised if the GT350 engine ends up in the racecar. A 5.2L V8 is right in the heart of the LM GTE class standard, sitting pretty much directly in between the smaller V8s from BMW, Ferrari, and Aston Martin, and the bigger Chevy. The Ecoboost V6 already has established its racing pedigree in the back of the DP so the marketing people should be satisfied.

  • avatar
    That guy

    GPDS is great for building normal cars where cost and volume are important. This is an extremely limited run of cost no object super cars, the GPDS framework doesn’t really fit here.

  • avatar
    VenomV12

    My neighbor has the current gen one and he loves it, drives it almost everyday to work in the summer(so I can vouch for it’s reliability) and he is an original owner. I drove it once or twice and while it looks amazing on the outside I personally don’t like the inside that much and don’t know if I would pass up a Ferrari for it. The fact is there are enough guys like him that only buy high dollar American supercars and they will sell every single one. He’ll probably get one and still keep the one he has too until the day he dies and I can think of at least 5 other guys here in town that will buy one immediately. He paid $60,000 over sticker and it is still worth what he paid or even a little more so why wouldn’t you buy the new one, it’s cheaper to drive than a Camry, kind of.

  • avatar
    suspekt

    It’s funny, but given the chance to purchase, I would pick the LFA over the GT.

    One is truly built by its OEM and can revel in its quality. LFA/NSX

    The other is a replica of what an OEM could do but farmed out. Ford GT

    I’m simplifying I know but the LFA/NSX both have their respective makers DNA.

    The Ford GT won’t.

    If I wanted a kit car, I’d by an Ultima.

  • avatar
    SC5door

    “After launch, these D&R’s follow the product after PPAP (Production Part Approval Process) to ensure warranty and customer issues are actively handled by either design or manufacturing initiatives.”

    Not in my experience. D&R’s typically turn everything over to PVT once launch is complete.

    Also why no mention of FPS (Ford Production System)?

    http://www.at.ford.com/news/Plants/Pages/Global-Ford-Production-System-Introduction0917-279.aspx

  • avatar
    Big Al from Oz

    The work carried out on the GT was lead from Detroit, headed by an Aussie engineer.

    I’ve read that some work was done in Australia. I don’t what or how much.

    The head engineer was not even able to tell his wife what he was working on. It was quite a secretive project.

  • avatar
    CHINO 52405

    GT roots.

    Is this not exactly how the first generation of this car was born? As an enormous racing fan, I’ve heard the rumors for a while about a return to Le Mans for the GT and now they’ve announced Ganassi will head up the 2016 campaign. Sorry about any hurt feelings of the proper channels at Ford or any rich people looking for a city cruising supercar.

    It looks to me like Ford is trying to build a badass racing entry the same way they did in the 60’s when they crossed the finish line 4 wide with the overall victory. I for one couldn’t be more excited and I’m a massive corvette fan.

  • avatar
    dabossinne

    What the hell’s the point of this post?

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