Fords Trio of Vehicles to Hit New York Auto Show

By: Joe Thompson

The Ford Motor Co. will launch three new limited-edition models - the Shelby GT500KR, the F-150 Foose Edition and the Ford Expedition Funkmaster Flex Edition - and all of which are making their official debut at this year's New York International Auto Show (NYIAS). The automaker's trio of vehicles showcases how Ford is leveraging crucial partnerships to build thrilling and more functional new products.

"Marrying great Ford products like Mustang, F-150 and Expedition to strong partners like Shelby, Foose and Flex creates vehicles that are irresistible to customers who want to make the boldest statement they can," said Cisco Codina, the group vice president of the company's North America Marketing, Sales and Service. "We are seeing more demand for special wheels and accessories and, of course, from-the-factory packages like the new Eddie Bauer Taurus X and Harley F-150s."

According to Ford's research, 62 percent of full-size pickup truck purchasers buy accessories for their vehicles, and 73 percent acquire auto parts through their dealer. In addition, truck buyers spend an average of $1,700 in accessories. About 30 percent of crossover utility vehicle purchasers buy accessories, and they are more likely to make these accessory purchases at the dealership.

The Dearborn-based automaker announced that its overall customization business rose by 50 percent in the previous year and could potentially double its business again in the next two years. The anticipated growth is anchored on the development of factory-customized products and a hard stress on wheels, appearance packages, and electronics such as DVD players and navigation systems contained in the updated .

"This is really a fashion industry," said Peter MacGillivray, the vice president of Marketing and Communications for the Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA). "Consumers want to put their personal stamp on everything they buy - from personalized rings to build-a-teddy-bear - and everybody knows that 'you are what you drive."

The 2008 Ford Shelby GT500KR, which will be launched next spring, features a 5.4-liter supercharged V-8 engine unit with a Ford Racing Power Upgrade Pack that improves the engine output to an estimated 540 horsepower. It is also given distinct exterior badging, a one-of-a-kind interior with Carroll Shelby-signature embroidered seats, a unique striping and a 40th Anniversary numbered dash plaque. The coupe version is also complemented by a custom carbon composite hood, stainless steel twist-down hood pins, a lower front air dam with functional brake ducts, a modified suspension, and 14-inch Brembo front brakes.

The all-new Ford F-150 Foose Edition, a rugged boulevard cruiser, is scheduled to hit the roads early next year. The Ford F-150 Foose Edition is penned by custom street rod designer Chip Foose. It features 22-inch wheels, the special Foose F-150 sports bold racing stripes, a new grille, and the 450-horsepower supercharged Triton V8 that produces 500 pound-feet of torque at 4,000 rpm. By far, it is the most powerful F-150.

The 2008 Ford Expedition Funkmaster Flex Edition, the limited-production SUV, will hit showrooms this fall. The concept of the car was created by hip hop DJ Funkmaster Flex. Its offers 20-inch aluminum wheels, a 340-watt Audiophileâ„? Sound System, an MP3 player audio jack, a Powerfoldâ„? third-row seating, heated and cooled front seats, an optional navigation system, a custom front fascia, a power liftgate, and a rear-seat DVD entertainment system. Rounding out the package is the SIRIUS satellite radio and an exclusive numbered dash plaque signed by Funkmaster Flex.

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