With 90 Ford Transit Connects on the road and another 50 on order, ThyssenKrupp Elevator has the potential to eventually have a total of 1,500 in the fleet to replace current cargo vans, according to the company.

ThyssenKrupp Elevator operates a fleet of approximately 3,300 vehicles - a mixture of pickup trucks, full-size vans, utility vehicles, medium-duty trucks and a small number of autos. Approximately 1,500 of the company's mechanics - who routinely service elevators and escalators - have been driving large cargo vans because there were no viable options available in the marketplace. The company found the Ford Transit Connect to be a better solution due to size and fuel economy - which also supports its sustainability efforts.

Tom Armstrong, ThyssenKrupp Elevator's fleet director, said the company wanted to replace the larger vans with smaller, more compact vehicles that could "get the job done." They wanted a vehicle that was economically priced and fuel efficient, with a payload capacity of approximately 1,200 lbs. to accommodate upfitting, driver, and equipment.

ThyssenKrupp Elevator has purchased 140 Ford Transit Connects to date, and uses an upfit package with a combination of shelves and drawers from Ford supplier Leggett & Platt.

According to Armstrong, feedback has been positive. Drivers like the way the Transit Connect handles because it feels more like a car than a truck. They also appreciate the roominess of the interior and the increased visibility from the large front and side windows and mirrors.

The Ford Transit Connect, 2010 North American Truck of the Year, is powered by a 2.0L I-4 engine, mated to a four-speed automatic overdrive transmission. This combination is EPA-rated at 22 mpg city, 25 highway.