Recent media hype about 'drift mode' in the Ford Focus RS — a feature that assists the driver in performing a perfectly-crafted drift — has led Ford Australia to defend its position on enabling the feature on Australian-delivered vehicles.
Media outlets around Australia have bizarrely slammed Ford for condoning 'hooning', suggesting that the mode will lead to high-risk driving on public roads, despite Ford Australia explicitly stating that the feature should only ever be used in a closed environment.
The head of Ford Performance is equally as confused, stating that the company has had no negative feedback on the Focus RS drift mode, adding that he was hugely disappointed that the 'line lock' smokey burnout mode had to be disabled for local Mustangs.
In an exclusive interview this week, Dave Pericak, the global director of in-house tuning arm Ford Performance, told CarAdvice that the feedback has been extremely positive.
"We have had no negative feedback. In fact, it's been quite the opposite," Pericak said.
There was also no doubt that the feature was designed and developed for true car enthusiasts, with Pericak suggesting that it's one of many innovations they could potentially need to think twice about if they were considered negative by consumers.
"Also, as far as 'thinking twice', yes...on more and more innovations like this. If you are a true car person, then you not only appreciate features like this but you love them. Our customers love the fact that we get it and we understand them."
It's not the first feature to cause controversy for Ford. Pericak is better known for his involvement as the lead engineer on the latest Ford Mustang program. It was a hugely important program for Ford globally, which saw the car evolve to offer right-hand drive and a number of huge engineering enhancements over its predecessor.
Pericak featured in the aptly named documentary A Faster Horse, which followed his journey as lead engineer of the Mustang program. The 'line lock' feature, which disables the rear brakes for the driver to perform a smoke-filled burnout, was sadly omitted from Australian delivered Mustangs.
"I was hugely disappointed when we had to remove the line lock feature from the Mustang for Australia. This too has been a huge success globally."
Thankfully, it's unlikely to be the last of Ford's innovative enthusiast-oriented features, with Pericak suggesting that Ford Performance is the innovation leader in that realm. Drift mode for a supercharged Mustang, anybody..?
"As far as the competition [goes], I don't know - but I can say that we are definitely leading in this area," Pericak said.
Do you think the negative media hype around the Focus RS drift mode is worth it? Head to our opinion piece to add your two cents worth.