Ford said production of the GT will start in 2016 and reach customers in the second half of that year. Executives didn't say where it would be built; Ford previously built the GT at its Wixom, Mich., plant, which has been torn down.
Sales volumes for both cars will be extremely low -- likely only several hundred a year for the GT and fewer than 2,000 annually for the NSX. In both cases, it's more about the overall brand than the car itself.
"We'll use the NSX to sell Acura," Mike Accavitti, the head of Acura, told Automotive News. "In time, we'll have to market NSXs to sell NSXs."
Accavitti said he wants the NSX to become part of Acura's identity "so that ILX buyers feel like they're buying a piece of it."
For Ford, the GT is the jewel of the new Ford Performance division that plans 12 new models by 2020, including the F-150 Raptor and Mustang Shelby GT 350R, both of which were unveiled alongside the GT.
Ford sees big benefits from pushing performance in today's market. It says almost two-thirds of people who buy the high-performance Focus ST or Fiesta ST come from outside the Ford brand, and more than half of Ford performance vehicle owners later buy another Ford.
"They're building a performance fan base," said Karl Brauer, senior director of insights at Kelley Blue Book. "All of those guys think this car is really cool, and even though very few of them will ever touch it, all of them feel a little cooler because of it when they drive their Focus ST or Raptor."
Erik Berkman, head of the Acura Business Planning Office, said Acura hopes to eventually increase NSX production to eight a day.
"We don't want to overproduce," Berkman said. "It's important to maintain demand."
The NSX is a three-motor hybrid with a twin-turbo V-6 engine. It has two electric motors attached to the front wheels, with a third sitting between the engine and transmission. The engine is mid-mounted.
"Our global team embraced the challenge to create a new sports car experience," said Ted Klaus, chief engineer and global development leader of the new NSX, "leveraging new technology to deliver incredibly vivid performance in a vehicle that responds intuitively and immediately to the will of the driver."
The GT is gasoline-only, a demonstration of the performance side of Ford's EcoBoost technology, fortuitously timed with gasoline prices at a five-year low and fuel economy less top-of-mind for consumers. It's also a symbol of how far Ford has come since the dark days of the recession, when every month seemed to bring more job cuts, plant closings and other grim news.
"When you look at a vehicle like this, which is really a showcase for the entire lineup that we've essentially redone over the last few years," Fields said, "it gives our employees a lot of motivation, a lot of enthusiasm."