Motor Trend - - Contents - Alisa Prid­dle

IN­TER­VIEW Her­mann Salen­bauch, Ford Per­for­mance

Her­mann Salen­bauch has spent a col­lec­tive nine years work­ing for Ford Per­for­mance, mak­ing him the long­est-serv­ing mem­ber of the go-faster team. He was SVT di­rec­tor from 2007 to 2015 and last year re­turned as global di­rec­tor of Ford Per­for­mance ve­hi­cle pro­grams—while also over­see­ing the Mus­tang, Edge, and Fu­sion. Al­though not as well known as pre­de­ces­sor Dave Per­i­cak, Salen­bauch is one to watch as Ford sorts out its per­for­mance fu­ture in a world of SUVS and elec­tri­fi­ca­tion.

Elec­tri­fi­ca­tion is a per­for­mance en­abler. For a per­for­mance team it’s a big thing. It’s a new world.ó

Do you have a vi­sion to change the di­rec­tion

of Ford Per­for­mance? Al­ways. We def­i­nitely have to make per­for­mance of the fu­ture ca­pa­ble. We can’t think of elec­tri­fi­ca­tion as a threat. It’s also a huge op­por­tu­nity. In 20 years the world will look very dif­fer­ent. Com­pa­nies like Porsche now have per­for­mance EVS. Is this the di­rec­tion? It’s awe­some. Elec­tri­fi­ca­tion is a per­for­mance en­abler. Com­bus­tion en­gines don’t have much torque at 0 rpm, and you need to crank them up. Elec­tric mo­tors have in­stant torque, a lot of power. For a per­for­mance team it’s a big thing to get their head around be­cause they know about sta­bi­lizer bars, brakes, su­per­charg­ers, tur­bos. It’s a new world for them.

What about elec­tri­fy­ing the tur­bos to get

that in­stant torque? We look at that. It is def­i­nitely a way you can run that turbo, but I have not yet seen the fuel econ­omy ben­e­fits.

Would hav­ing Rap­tor ver­sions of both the F-150 and Ranger in North Amer­ica hurt each other or en­hance over­all truck per­for­mance

sta­tus? It’s an op­por­tu­nity. It’s not the most press­ing thing. It took many years to bring Ranger back be­cause Ranger is lower vol­ume. It would be more ex­pen­sive for the same profit as an F-150. I’m happy it’s back. I worked on Ranger Rap­tors for many years. Af­ter the F-150, we al­ways thought about it. It took un­til now to bring it.

Will that men­tal­ity keep you from of­fer­ing

Ranger Rap­tor in the U.S.? If you do some­thing, you should not do it at the ex­pense of some­thing else. If it makes sense and it’s prof­itable, we usu­ally do things. It needs to be right. I’m not ask­ing the com­pany for money to make prod­ucts that are not prof­itable.

Are there gaps in your lineup you would like

to fill? A big thing to re­solve on the car side is to of­fer per­for­mance and not get hand­i­capped by CO2 and sus­tain­abil­ity. In terms of lineup, we are con­stantly ex­pand­ing. On the STS we are bring­ing new of­fer­ings. You see the first Edge ST, and it will not be the last one in that seg­ment.

There’ll be an Ex­plorer ST? Yeah. It’s a strong one. How do you com­pare your strat­egy to AMG? Will ev­ery Ford have a per­for­mance vari­ant? We want to hedge our bets. We have lim­ited re­sources, peo­ple-wise and fi­nan­cially, and we de­ploy them where we get the most pay­back.

You will have GT350 and GT500 in the same show­room for the first time. What’s

the think­ing? They play to dif­fer­ent cus­tomers. GT350 is a track-fo­cused ve­hi­cle but de­ploys power in a dif­fer­ent way than a GT500. GT500 for the first time also will be very track-ca­pa­ble, but it’s also very straight-lined. It plays in both and gives you the high­est level of horse­power. You will not spin a tire as eas­ily in a GT350, but a GT500 will have strengths that GT350 doesn’t have.

When does the GT500 show up in the

show­room? It will be a ’20 model year, so some­time in the sec­ond half of next year. It’s an ex­cit­ing ma­chine. We have a long his­tory on im­prov­ing ca­pa­bil­ity on our GT500, do­ing some­thing big ev­ery year.

What will you de­but with this one? It will have more power than we ever had. We told you 700 plus, and it’s not 701 or 702; it’s plus and a lit­tle bit.

Which one should we in­vite to Best Driver’s

Car? There’s a lit­tle more weight on the front of a GT500 with a supercharger, so you have to deal with it. But I have ex­cel­lent ve­hi­cle dy­nam­ics en­gi­neers that worked on that. It han­dles ex­tremely well. It’s not just a straight-line car.

Can we look for­ward to a King of the Road

ver­sion a year or two in? I did the last King of the Road. It was a lot of work. We built our first 1,000 units, then an­other 1,000 units, and pro­duced a price span no­body else had done at that level. We added to a car that was a slightly above $20,000 V-6 Mus­tang, and that KR was about $80,000. Deal­ers put a hefty markup on top. I’m pretty sure many sold for more than $100,000. And this was for a 2008.5 KR model.

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