Ford to sponsor, offer 4 new features at 2017 Woodward Dream Cruise – Detroit Free Press
The Woodward Dream Cruise said today Ford will be its main sponsor for this year’s annual cruise in August.
Ford plans to dramatically expand its presence at this year’s Woodward Dream Cruise and will be the event’s main sponsor in a one-year deal, the company said today.
The Dearborn automaker is stepping in one month after Chevrolet decided to end its six-year run as the main sponsor of the annual event that draws more than 1.2 million people every year to metro Detroit’s historic Woodward Avenue.
Jim Owens, Ford’s performance car marketing manager, said the automaker will continue to hold its Mustang Alley event in Ferndale and will have a presence at four new locations along Woodward Avenue. Those locations will host, among other things, Ford’s track-ready racing vehicles, its performance car lineup and its lineup of SUVs and crossovers.
“We are going to have displays from Nine Mile Road … all the way up to 15 Mile Road,” Owens said.
Those who go will be able to gaze at performance cars that include the Fiesta ST, Focus ST, F-150 Raptor and the Ford GT supercar that goes 0-to-60 m.p.h. in three seconds flat and costs a whopping $450,000.
Ford also will display track-ready vehicles such as the Cobra Jet — a Mustang equipped with Ford Performance parts that include a 5.0-liter V8 engine, 2.9L Whipple supercharger and a host of other custom parts — as well as the Mustang Boss 302. According to Ford’s Performance division, the Boss 302S “is an entry-level, purpose-built road-racing Mustang … designed to appeal to many levels of road-racing enthusiasts.”
Meanwhile, Ford is promising that this year’s Mustang Alley event will be the largest ever and will include the new 2018 Mustang, which hits dealer showrooms later this year.
Ford unveiled the updated version of the Mustang, which features new LED lights, a lower nose and a new 10-speed automatic transmission, at the Detroit auto show in January, but it has only been accessible to the public since then at auto shows.
This year’s Dream Cruise officially takes place on Aug. 19, but it has grown into a nearly week-long car culture extravaganza with official and unofficial events occurring across Oakland County.
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“We’ve been involved in the Woodward Dream Cruise now through Mustang Alley for 19 years,” Owens said. “Ford celebrates and supports car culture and what better place than the Woodward Dream Cruise to be a part of that?”
Ford and the Ford Fund’s sponsorship is a one-year deal with an option to renew. Both Ford and Tony Michaels, executive director of the Dream Cruise, declined to disclose the value of Ford’s contract.
Michaels did say Ford’s sponsorship, combined with commitments from a number of other sponsors, is more than enough to keep the event financially solvent with money left over for the nine host communities involved.
The event’s new injection of cash support from Ford will help the Dream Cruise defray expenses for police overtime and public works clean-ups, said Greg Rassel, the volunteer president of the event’s nonprofit operating board, Woodward Dream Cruise Inc.
“We’re just thrilled to have this great relationship with our new presenting sponsor,” said Rassel, who also is Royal Oak’s director of parks and recreation. “We’re looking forward to having some exciting new features at the Dream Cruise” that will be Ford-related.”
Michaels said in June that the Dream Cruise, which has struggled financially in the past, had a sponsorship agreement in the works when Chevrolet decided it would not return. Chevrolet had been the presenting sponsor since 2011 when it struck a $1-million, three-year agreement.
“Their contract ran out. And they have been a great, great partner,” Michaels said.
Dodge, which normally has a presence at 13 Mile Road and Woodward Avenue, is not a sponsor this year because Northwood Shopping Center is under construction. Without its 12-acre Northwood location, Fiat Chrysler said it was not able to find another suitable location.
“After investigating other opportunities, FCA did not find suitable options,” a spokeswoman said in an e-mail.
Dodge is the sponsor of a drag racing event and festival the Saturday before the Dream Cruise on Aug. 12. Roadkill Nights Powered by Dodge, now in its third year, will be held at the M1 Concourse in Pontiac.
Chevrolet will continue to have displays in Birmingham and in Royal Oak just north of 13 Mile Road, and GM Design will host a car show earlier in the week in Royal Oak. Chevrolet will also host the Silent Cruise with Volt owners and Bolt electric cars starting in Bloomfield Hills on the Wednesday before the Dream Cruise.
That makes Ford the only Detroit automaker to have both a presence at this year’s Dream Cruise and be a sponsor.
Ford’s Mustang Alley event will include more than 650 Mustangs — making it the largest car exhibit at the Woodward Dream Cruise.
In addition, Owens said Ford plans to add these events:
- Westborn Market, Berkley: Ford will host a “Driving Skills For Life” trailer where young drivers can learn safe driving techniques.
- Uncle Ed’s Oil Shoppe, Royal Oak: Ford display its Performance Parts vehicles, including the Cobra Jet and Boss 302R and other vehicles that are “track ready,” or designed for use only on drag strips and race tracks.
- Pioneer Park, Royal Oak: Ford will display its lineup of Ford SUVs and crossovers at the Family Fun Zone at Pioneer Park.
- Intersection of Woodward and Old Woodward, Birmingham: A display of Ford’s Performance Car lineup, including the Ford GT.
Owens suggested Ford would be interested in returning next year as the presenting sponsor.
“We hope to continue to work with the Woodward Dream Cruise,” Owens said. “We are always looking … to invest in this car culture and car culture community.”
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Contact Brent Snavely: 313-222-6512 or email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @BrentSnavely. Free Press reporter Bill Laitner contributed to this report.