Like anything of significant financial or sentimental value, it’s easy to understand the desire to share such treasures with those who have gone to great lengths to prove their loyalty. As far as the 2017 GT is concerned, that’s exactly the mentality Ford is taking when choosing the lucky few to be the first to lay pedal to metal in the newest version of America’s most iconic car – a feeling of exhilaration perhaps only surpassed by that of the first Apollo astronauts as they set foot on the moon.
You read right: Ford is keeping it in the family – at least, to start. The first 250 GTs to roll off the line will not be available at your local Ford dealer but only go to those who have a longstanding relationship with the blue oval and its fleet of vehicles – but that isn’t the only criteria that one must pass in order to possess the latest incarnation of the GT.
In addition to having to fill out an application form – which will invariably require the thousands of hopefuls to list their previously owned Ford branded daily drivers, the automaker will be handing keys over only to those who show their willingness to drive it rather than keeping it under lock and key. After all, the Ford GT is a machine that longs for the kiss of asphalt, not the snugness of a cloistered car hold (if it’s an investment you seek, you’d best call a financial planner). To that end, Ford is requiring that each successful applicant sign a legally binding document that will prevent them from selling the vehicle until after a certain amount of time has passed, effectively squashing the immediate secondary market.
If it weren’t enough to have to prove your loyalty to the brand, fill out an arduous application form, and sign a legally binding document, preferential consideration will still be given to those who have previously owned a GT. To some, this may sound like a pretty unfair way to determine who will get first crack at ownership – especially to those who have never owned a Ford. Upon further consideration however, it isn’t difficult to see why the automaker has gone to such lengths.
Essentially, Ford is ensuring that the limited run of 2017 GTs will go to those who have a passion for the GT. The selection process, while considerable, will help to weed out those who are simply looking to flip the vehicle for a profit.
At a price tag fluttering around the $400,000 mark, the GT isn’t exactly priced to sell (which also adds to its exclusivity). That said, the application/sale process is also a much more effective means of selling such a highly anticipated vehicle; with only 250 being built, the automaker would be hard pressed to evenly distribute inventory across a wide geographic area.
In many ways, the new GT represents uncharted territory for Ford, who can now count the likes Ferrari and Lamborghini as direct competitors. It will be interesting to see if other automakers follow Ford’s example, whether they too will diligently choose their customers from the masses. Such thinking may seem at first to be counter-intuitive, particularly after the difficulty the auto industry had in recovering from the recent economic downturn, but perhaps, in this day and age of buying and selling, it remains the only way a manufacturer can maintain the integrity of their brand. And for that, Ford certainly deserves more than a modicum of respect. Whether or not Ford implemented the application process, the limited number of GTs would sell out in a heartbeat. But it begs the question: How many of those buyers would treat this vehicle as a commodity rather than the marvel of engineering that it is?