Ford Introducing Transit Connect Van in North America
06 February 2008
|The Ford Transit Connect van is coming to North America.|
Ford is bringing its European-engineered and manufactured Ford Transit Connect compact van to the commercial vehicle market in North America. To be introduced at the Chicago Auto Show, Transit Connect is designed to bring American small business owners a new vehicle choice that offers improved fuel economy, bigger load capacity and better cargo accessibility.
Rather than the 1.8-liter Duratorq diesel engines featured in the Transit Connect in Europe, the version headed for North American offers a 2.0-liter, four-cylinder gasoline engine and automatic transmission. The North American version of the Transit Connect delivers fuel economy estimated at 19 mpg US city and 24 mpg US highway. The 66 kW (88 hp) version of the 1.8L Duratorq on the European cycle delivers 30 mpg US (7.9L/100km) city and 40.6 mpg US (5.8L/100km) highway.
Transit Connect is targeted at a new market (a “white-space product”) for North America. Its closest competitors are cargo vans offered by Chevrolet and Dodge. Compared to those, Transit Connect will provide a significant city fuel economy advantage, while offering more cargo space, according to Ford.
More than ever before, consumers are making the bulk of their purchases from the Internet and smaller, specialty businesses, which is increasing the volume of small package deliveries. Transit Connect is ideally suited to meet those delivery needs because of its flexible package, compact size and fuel-efficient powertrain. It will make the delivery process for small business owners easier and more affordable.—Derrick Kuzak, Ford group vice president of Global Product Development
Transit Connect was named International Van of the Year by an independent panel of leading commercial vehicle journalists representing 19 European countries when first launched in 2003.
Transit Connect is part of a family of Transit commercial vehicles offered across Europe. Since the introduction of the Transit Connect, Ford’s share of the European light and medium duty commercial vehicle market has doubled to 34 percent. In record-setting 2007, Ford sold 109,900 Transit Connects and 224,915 Transits in Europe. More than 5 million Transit units have been manufactured since 1965.
Transit Connect is manufactured in Kocaeli, Turkey, at Ford’s most advanced light commercial vehicle assembly plant. It will be available in select North American markets in mid-2009.
I happen to be in Turkey this month. I see these things everywhere. Along with its identical clones from Fiat , Renault and Citroen. What's the point of bringing these to the US if you leave the engine behind.
Posted by: DS | 06 February 2008 at 04:13 AM
I agree, what's the deal with not bringing diesels to America? I want a diesel Fiesta van with a 5 speed, its perfect for my job.
Posted by: Javarod | 06 February 2008 at 04:56 AM
Panel vans tend to rack up a lot of miles every year, so a diesel would make sense. Blame the high cost of meeting US emissions for the fact that Ford is playing it safe by introducing the vehicle type with a standard gasoline engine and AT. If customers demand higher fuel economy, both hybridization and a T2B5 diesel remain possible options. For commercial operators, it all comes down to total cost of ownership and fuel is still relatively cheap in the US.
Posted by: Rafael Seidl | 06 February 2008 at 04:57 AM
If you deliver packages instead of people, I'd think a Dodge Sprinter (w/ diesel engine) would be a better choice today.
By 2010 I expect there will be a 50-state diesel engine for this vehicle.
Posted by: Bill | 06 February 2008 at 05:20 AM
I was anticipating the introduction of this vehicle in the US market.
But alas, Ford has done it again by deleting the 40mpg diesel and inserting a sub-par 24mpg gasoline engine.
What is the point of that!!!???
Especially with +$3/per gallon fuel? How many small business owners are going to line up for a SMALL 24mpg panel wagon? They'd be much better served with a HUGE 26mpg Sprinter that they can run on biodiesel if they so desire.
This is one of the many reasons we divested ourselves of our inferior Ford vehicles and all of our Ford stock.
With marketing decisions (poor business environment) like these, they deserve to go out of business.
Posted by: DieselHybrid | 06 February 2008 at 07:32 AM
This vehicle is neither aesthetically nor technically appealing. Let's see if Ford's marketing people can trick us into wanting it.
Posted by: Mick | 06 February 2008 at 07:52 AM
Another small vehicle with a small, low-power engine that manages to get poor gas mileage. I would expect at least 25-30mpg combined even with a gasoline engine for this size vehicle, and even that wouldn't be so wonderful. I can't see any reason to buy something this size, with such a weak engine, when it gets mpg barely higher than the full size vans it is supposed to replace. How is this better than an Odyssey, Previa or what have you with the seats removed? I agree with those who posted that a Sprinter would be a much better choice for most users.
Posted by: Zach | 06 February 2008 at 08:05 AM
50% inferior to the euro version! Good point Bill about the Dodge sprinter van being a better choice, same MPG, much bigger.
Posted by: GdB | 06 February 2008 at 08:15 AM
Heck- my wife's '05 Sienna 8-passenger minivan (kiddie-hauler) has averaged 23mpg since new! Our previous '00 2.0 liter Ford Focus station wagon averaged +30mpg with an auto. Now this Transit is only rated at 24mpg hwy?
I see absolutley no competitive advantage offered by this vehicle.
I forecast that the Ford Transit (as presently offered: 24mpg gas/auto) will be a marketing disaster of Pontiac Aztec proportions.
But I'm sure Mulally will still get his CEO bonus.
Posted by: DieselHybrid | 06 February 2008 at 08:56 AM
Ditto on above comments. The diesel is much more suited to this vehicle. If it was full of cargo the gas engine would feel underpowered compared to the diesel yet it is getting MUCH worse mpg.
This vehicle has little or no advantage over an older <1998> dodge caravan panel model other then the fact that it is new.
Posted by: hampden wireless | 06 February 2008 at 09:04 AM
Talk about vision...how to meet new CAFE stds. (not to mention when they increase soon after Jan. 20, 2009)? Leave the 40mpg diesel out of a new car in NA line. Trained chimps couldn't run an organization into the ground more quickly...unless that chimp(chump) looked like a president...hmmm...
Posted by: Poster Child | 06 February 2008 at 09:09 AM
Talk about mis-directed criticism.
The diesel EU Transit in NOT LEGAL here. Unlike the EU phonies, we do not allow polluting pigs into the United States. And I congratulate the regulators for that decision. That is not Mullally's problem. If you have a complaint, take it up with your Congressman, or EPA, or the CARBite bureaucracy.
When and if the economic as well as the technical state of the art of diesels, incorporate US standards, T2B5, then a diesel option will be included. Presently T2B5 diesels are few and between, even for vehicles costing twice as much as the selling price-point of the Transit. Just because we all agree in the USA, that the objective of clean air is worth the effort involved.
The technology to meet T2B5 may finally have been developed, once again here, but it is not yet reduced in cost enough, for such a price-point vehicle, in the US.
It sure would be well, if the the fat-assed phonies of the Green movement in Europe would get off their fat duffs, and ACTUALLY DO SOMETHING instead of just posturing and blowing hot air.
Now that the technology is here, then mandating its use in Europe in some sane as opposed to ridiculously drawn out time frame, would spread the costs over many more implementations. The result would be driving down the price for the T2B5 not-clean-but-clean-enough diesel technology and cleaner air for all, even sooner.
But once again socialist "Green" phonies, talk a good show but deliver SQUAT. They seem to have brainwashed all too many. however. That's why the EAST Bloc was/is an industrial cesspool, and western EU cities now stink of diesel.
Meanwhile EU citizens inhale cancer causing diesel soot, and ICE pollutants, unnecessarily, even while paying double or triple the cost in hydro "carbon" fuel taxes to "improve the air quality", even as it degenerates. Meanwhile the USA air quality continues to improve.
Posted by: Stan Peterson | 06 February 2008 at 09:51 AM
diesel technology will never succeed in volume in the USA. This is because T2B5 is too strict. how do you expect clean diesel tech to benefit from economies of scale when it's impossible to sell in volume as the costs of meeting T2B5 pushes the price-point to a totally uncompetitive level? if the USA really wanted to get on board the diesel revolution, the emissions standards for diesels should have been much more realistic in the beginning, with the expectation made clear to manufacturers that they should work towards T2B5 as quickly as possible. you've gone about it completely the wrong way round.
Posted by: eric | 06 February 2008 at 10:22 AM
Ford motor company should wake up .People DO WANT an economical vehicle.Plus we will pay an extra couple thousand for a small diesel that meets T2B5 requirements.The VW 2.0L ,140 HP should be the performance goal .With a 50% increase in mileage over the 24mpg gas model the higher prices of diesel fuel would be a moot point because you'd still see 40% savings ..
Ford ,GM and Dodge need to rethink the large displacement mentality.Not everyone hauls construction equipment.These larger engines translate to such poor mileage numbers that the idea of buying a new vehicle is crazy.Look at the new mpg numbers for full size Vans and Pickups.Why buy one ? I'll Wait. The technology is there.Give us a good product and sales should prove me right.
Posted by: Carl | 06 February 2008 at 10:34 AM
Since the target market of this vehicle is business, they'll look at the life-time economics of the vehicle.
A very conservative estimate for a work vehicle is 20k miles/year. If the diesel averaged 35mpg @ $3.50/gallon, the cost is ~$2,000/year. The gas version averaging 22mpg @$3.00/gallon costs $2,660/year. In a 5 year/100k mile lifespan, the diesel will save $3,300.
If the upgrade cost of diesels is less than that, minus the opportunity cost of the money over that span, then it makes economic sense.
Given that many work vehicles see double these miles, the savings multiply and the payback period drops.
Posted by: ted-san | 06 February 2008 at 12:37 PM
In order to understand ...
1 Remember to convert euro milage test numbers to us test numbers... thus the ero version with deisel is in fact a hunk of junk milage wise..
2 Convert to us standard for diesel .. that eats both power and fuel econ...
3 Now you gave a deisel engine of say 2.2 l with 18 mpg. Now convery us deisel to us gasoline at current fuel costs and energy values and oil usage to make... Now that deisel is a 9 mpg clustermuff.
The devil is in the details you dont know.
Posted by: wintermane | 06 February 2008 at 12:45 PM
what the hell did you just say??
Posted by: | 06 February 2008 at 01:31 PM
As long as ASTM diesel spec D975 remains at 40 minimum Cetane, that is what well continue to get. Yell at ASTM, the refiners, demand state dept of AGs get off their hands and get Cetane stickers on retail pumps that say 45 and maybe things will change.
Posted by: fred | 06 February 2008 at 02:53 PM
Ok ill make it simpler..
The us version gets 20 mpg gas.
To convert to milage using euro standard and euro gas.. add around 75% thus 35 mpg euro..
Now convert to deisel.. thus add 40% .. thus 49 mpg..
Now factor in the need for a bigger engine in us because of weaker fuel and speacialy summertime surge ib additives in us gas.. 15% so...56 mpg.
This is why the us automakers had such an easy time meeting euro milage levels.
Niw clean deisel sounds great... but it uses alot more oil to make AND requires alot of HYDROGEN... ya the big icky h word. Ans the emmissions systems eat alot of power and fuel ob top of that.
So a vote for cean deisel is a vote for h2;/ neener neener neener.
Posted by: wintermane | 06 February 2008 at 07:48 PM
wintermane you're still not making any sense.
Posted by: winnipeg BioD | 06 February 2008 at 11:28 PM
BushGreenwatchWe have our own domestic polluting pigs.
Posted by: DS | 07 February 2008 at 07:40 AM
I know your politics blind you, but the Air Quality in the US is improbved and promoted by both Demeocrats and Republicans. It is better than in most anywhere else in the world. The Bush you hate so cordially hate was still the guy who got the US ABC to take a lab curiosity, the Li-Ion batteryfrom curiosity to potential product before turning over the fisnish ot industry,and into a coming substitute for our ground transport petroelum needs. That triumph alone will liberate us from Oil Shieks and Socialist dictators robbing their people while extorting oil tribute from us. It closes the last obstacle to a world full of people being able to avchieve a healthy, well-fed, well-educated, western lifestyle by 2200. Socialists want all to share the misery, (except for the nomenklatura... them), while this is plenty for all, instead.
Even the worst two places, the LA Basin and Houston, are down to having only 30-40 days a year of mildly polluted air. We won't have achieved victory until that dwindles to zero.
But it is much better than when LA suffered really bad air, much worse than these 30 so-called "bad air days", for more than 265 of 365 days a year.
Most everywhere else, the US may have non-attainment days consisting of a few minutes at one or a few of the many sensors citywide. But what we would have labeled as perfectly clean air in 1970. I live in the fifth largest city in th country. It has had 3 events in the last few years of a sensor reporting worse than clean and above "moderate" air quality. And it was dust pollution, a "brown cloud", caused by several million people stirring up the desert than any other thing, accentuated by the an air inversion such as the LA basin suffers.
Phoenix is not atypical of the state of air quality in America in the first decade of the 21st century, some 40 years after we Americans tackled the air pollution problem. Having lived in metropolises including Boston, New York, New Orleans, Philadelphia, Seattle, LA and Phoenix, I have experienced the worst air they have to offer. I have also visited and worked in some EU cities and can testify the diesel stink is relatively new, and gets worse every year.
Posted by: Stan Peterson | 07 February 2008 at 10:40 AM
Ok to understand what im saying you will need to go read a bit...
1 Find the specs of both the us and euro milage tests... Note how VERY different they are.
2 Now find the specs for gas and deisel for euro and us... again very different.
3 Bow look up the typical needed pollution controls on cars... and how they hurt milage and power... again note how very different they are.
Now think about all those differences... use your mind...
The us auto industry could handle a 40 mpg fleet if only they could use the same fuels and test as europe.
Posted by: wintermane | 07 February 2008 at 11:58 AM
The 09 VW TDI I was in at the bioD expo in Orlando the other day had a 50 state emissions sticker on it so it looks like theyre planning to sell them in August?
Now would be a good time to start seeing those 45 Cetane stickers that seem to be missing on virtually every retail pump Ive seen. Can you imagine gasoline pumps without Octane stickers? This will make T2B5 easier for everyone as well as get petroD up near where bioD is...47 cetane.
Again hats off to VW and MB for the tenacity.
Posted by: fred | 07 February 2008 at 05:40 PM
Tenacity MB and VW have, its market share that they do not. The premium for CI engines will only be made up by increased fuel economy. With the need for multiple oxidizing cats, particulate filters, egr systems, and possible urea injection to meet the upcoming emission standards there is a lot of doubt that outside of a niche there will be any demand for diesels in the us post 2009.
Posted by: JW | 07 February 2008 at 09:04 PM