RICHFIELD, MN - Best Buy's Geek Squad fleet will soon take delivery of 290 Ford Transit Connect compact utility vans and 738 Ford E-Series vans as part of the company's continuing efforts to build a more fuel-efficient fleet and streamlined transportation system.

The Transit Connects will be used instead of larger cargo vans by Geek Squad technicians who deliver, install, and service home appliances. The E-Series vans will be used by those who install and service home theater equipment.

According to Jason Pucely, senior manager, Best Buy Fleet Operations, the selection of the Ford Transit Connect was dictated in many ways by the company's new operating model, which drives to deliver superior client service through more efficient scheduling, inventory management, and transportation systems.

"We're streamlining all of our activities," he explained. "We've developed a more effective routing system, and we're more efficient with the tools and parts we carry when we do our work. That has enabled us to put the same technician doing the same work in a smaller, lighter vehicle."

Pucely said the Ford Transit Connect offers the functionality Geek Squad technicians require to get their work done, while not compromising on some of the space requirements that a full-size cargo van offers.

In addition to the cost and environmental benefits, Pucely foresees other advantages.

"Our technicians typically carry diagnostic equipment, motors and other electronic parts, so having the side access panels will make it easier for them to get to the equipment they need," he said.

The unique appearance of the Ford Transit Connect also promises to be an added bonus, said Pucely.

"A distinctive vehicle has been part of the history of Geek Squad in the marketplace," he said. "We value our fleet as a tool to enhance our brand messaging, and the Transit Connect will certainly help in that effort."

All of the vehicles will carry the familiar Geek Squad branding — black-and-white with the orange-and-black Geek Squad logo.

With fuel efficiency a priority, Best Buy also opted to purchase 738 Ford E-Series vans with smaller 4.6L displacement V-8 engines that provide better fuel economy than its current vans with larger engines.

"Home theater equipment is large, and it requires the space of a full-size van," said Pucely. "But our technicians can do the same amount of work using a vehicle with a smaller engine, which is less expensive to run and burns less fuel."

Best Buy is ranked No. 67 on Automotive Fleet's 2010 Top 300 Commercial Fleets listing.