Jost Capito. The name should ring a bell for most Ford performance fans but for the uninitiated he is the current chief of Ford's global performance vehicles and motorsports business development and one of the key men behind the 305 horsepower Ford Focus RS super-hatch sold overseas. With such credentials it's little wonder Ford has enlisted Capito to oversee the operations of all of its performance teams, working to create a "universal feel" for its lineup of performance vehicles sold around the world.

Capito's role will be to head Ford's Special Vehicle Team (SVT) in America and its RS team in Europe. By integrating the two divisions, future sporty Fords will be able to benefit from a single set of performance criteria and the latest in Blue Oval technology and know-how. The move also reaffirms Ford CEO Alan Mulally's desire for a unified Ford empire consisting of global engineering teams.

Speaking at the launch of the 2011 Ford Shelby GT500's aluminum-block V-8 engine, Capito explained that engineers will be flying back and forth between North America and Europe and are already working to fine-tune a common set of parameters used to evaluate a vehicle's handling and performance capabilities. Additionally, the move will also allow Ford to better integrate its motorsports developments into its road cars.

The good news for consumers is that future performance vehicles will be able to move from one region to another with only a little fine-tuning, paving the way for future versions of European-only models like the Fiesta RS and Focus RS to eventually be sold in North America--just don't ask anyone at Ford when this going to happen.

[The Detroit News]