All-New Transit & Transit Connect Offer Power of Choice
The long-anticipated Ford Transit will debut in the U.S. market in summer 2014. Already a staple on the European market, the all-new, full-size van will replace the legendary E-Series van, which will be transitioned out of the Ford lineup during the 2014 calendar year.
Joining the Ford Transit is the all-new Ford Transit Connect. The Transit Connect has already established itself in the U.S. market with a variety of fleets, including some of the largest companies in the nation. The all-new Transit Connect will be available in early 2014.
While both vehicles have distinct differences in size and function, they do have one thing in common, according to Minyang Jiang, Transit/Transit Connect marketing manager: “The one word that captures both vehicles is ‘choice.’ ”
Choice is featured at every level for both of the vehicles. For instance, the Transit will be available with a variety of powertrains, including the 3.7L base engine and two optional engines: a 3.5L EcoBoost, and a 3.2L Power Stroke diesel. In addition, the 3.7L will also be available with a compressed natural gas/liquefied petroleum gas (CNG/LPG) gaseous prep package.
For the Transit Connect, the base engine will be a 2.5L I-4; the optional engine will be a 1.6L EcoBoost, which will be available on all variants except the seven-passenger wagon.
The Transit will also come with a choice of three roof heights, three body lengths, and two wheelbases.
The high-roof Transit features 81.5 inches of interior cargo height, enough headroom for a person to stand in.
For the Transit Connect, in addition to featuring European styling, the all-new compact van will feature a lower roof and cargo floor. And, for the first time, it will be available in two body lengths, either 173.9 inches or 189.7 inches; and two wheelbases, either 104.8 inches or 120.6 inches. When properly spec’ed, the Transit Connect can tow up to 2,000 pounds.
In addition to choice, the Transit is designed to be “Ford Tough” (See sidebar: “Robots are Used for Testing Ford Transit”) with unibody construction composed of lightweight boron steel, according to the company.
Both vehicles include a number of new safety features, according to Jiang.
“For Transit Connect, some of the new features include front and rear parking assist, a rear-view camera, side curtain air bags on all rows, and high-strength boron steel construction,” Jiang said. “For Transit, we have unibody construction and we’re offering a Lane Departure Warning system. Both vehicles will also be available with Mykey, which is important for fleet management, as it can help monitor such items as seat-belt compliance and other driver activities that could impact the vans’ safe operation.”
Built for Upfitting
Although the Transit is yet to roll off its U.S. assembly lines in Kansas City, up-fitters Leggett & Platt, Adrian Steel, and Sortimo are already preparing by locating operations in physical proximity to the assembly plant.
“They’re all going to be physically located there, because Transit is such an investment in that plant,” Jiang said. “This is also good because it creates jobs for the local economy.”
Ford has also invested in an upfitting website, transitupfits.com, and will feature both Transit and Transit Connect. The current Transit Connect siste will redirect to this portal.
“It’s a whole new tool. Right now it’s only open to dealers, but it’s a really simple drag and drop tool that hosts products from upfitters Leggett & Platt, Adrian Steel, and Sortimo, and the dealer can basically sit down with the customer, understand their needs, and just use that website and place that order,” Jiang explained. “When you look at that website you can visualize the upfit for Transit and Transit Connect.”
The site is currently fully live for Transit Connect and will be available for Transit customers in January 2014 when the order banks open.
Use of the site is not a requirement when ordering. “Many of our fleets choose to work with customized upfits and work directly with those upfitters, but this tool will be open for them as well,” Jiang said. “If they find what they want on the site, it can become a click and done system and can be all done online.”
The Transit was designed for upfitting with racks, bins, shelving, and other cargo storage and hauling solutions. The largest passenger version can carry up to 15 people.