Roush Performance's relationship with the Ford Motor Company began in 1964, when its founder Jack Roush began his professional career building special editions of Ford cars.
So, when the performance-enhancing car powerhouse decided to bring its products to the UAE, its choice of distributor was "simple", explained Thomas Sundberg, CEO of ACV Export - the Middle East representative of Roush. Al Tayer Motors is the exclusive Ford dealer for the UAE and will be the place to go for Roush products.
"We have been working on this for two-and-a-half years," said Sundberg. "The whole world, two years ago, went through a very tough financial situation and that bogged us down. But perseverance is the key to success in anything. Both teams were committed and we are absolutely thrilled at Roush."
Sundberg says Roush chose the UAE because of its leading place on the world racing stage, the international exposure offered by the international community and visitors, and the ambition of the country. "If something is big, here it is done bigger, and we are thrilled to be a part of it."
The team brought with them 15 limited-edition supercharged Mustangs, each sporting a 5.0L V8 with 525hp and 630Nm torque and a specially-crafted plaque with Jack Roush's signature and a serial number.
"We walked through the overall design [with Al Tayer Motors] and what they would want in the vehicles and they put in the initial order for 15 supercharged Roush Mustangs. We built them and got them here."
The cars, named "The Shamal", cost Dh250,000 each and are on display at Al Tayer Motors's Sheikh Zayed Road showroom in Dubai, Al Wahda Street showroom in Sharjah, and its Abu Dhabi and Al Ain subsidiary Premier Motors' showroom in Khalidiya.
Roush products - aimed at bridging the gap between the road and the race track with performance parts, vehicles and crate engines - have been finding their way to the Middle East for years, mostly via online shopping sites, but its partnership with Al Tayer marks its first business venture outside of North America.
"We have shipped products earlier on to all kinds of different customers here," Sundberg said. "There are a number of speed shops, small companies, that have wanted to be part of Roush [too], but we have held off from that."
The reason, he said, was to ensure that customers buying a Ford with the additional Roush products are assured the cars are still covered by their original warranty.
"The customer has to be confident that when they buy a new Ford, and it has all the products on it, that the warranty matches the Ford warranty. They can bring it back to Al Tayer Motors and have trained technicians that can fulfil any requirements for their Roush performance vehicle."
The partnership will allow any Mustang owners to add serious power to their current vehicle.
"If someone already has a 2009 Mustang, they will be able to bring it in and have a Roush supercharger installed - adding more than 100 horsepower to the vehicle they already own. [They can] change the suspension and brakes and add other additional performance products," said Sundberg.
Roush is a well known name on the Nascar scene and it uses its motorsport experience to produce performance vehicles, modular engines and high-performance parts.
Having delivered The Shamals, Sundberg is heading back to Michigan, in the US, where discussions will begin about future opportunities for its new Arabian market.
The Big Boy's Toys exhibition in Abu Dhabi, March 16 to 19, is the next big date on Roush's calendar. Technicians based at its US headquarters will accompany Sundberg here to train the Al Tayer staff.