CHICAGO/COLOGNE, February 9, 2009 – The North American market version of the Ford Transit Connect commercial vehicle is making its debut at the 2009 Chicago Motor Show. Ford is tapping its global portfolio of products to meet the unique needs of American small-business owners with the European-engineered Transit Connect, a fuel efficient and spacious alternative to larger commercial vehicles.
The North American version takes full advantage of the established strengths of the European Transit/Tourneo Connect product family, but is specially tailored to meet US customers’ expectations.
To prepare the Transit Connect for the unique needs of small-businesses in the United States, a Duratec 2.0-litre DOHC four-cylinder petrol engine delivering an estimated 138 SAE horsepower at 6,500 rpm will be mated to a four-speed automatic overdrive transmission. In addition, special features and options exclusive to the US market will be offered, such as the special Tool Link™ and Crew Chief™ tracking systems.
The North American model also debuts a number of new functional and design elements. The revised front bumper and grilles feature Ford of Europe’s characteristic trapezoidal shape, and new headlamps and tail-lamps enhance the fresh appearance. The interior has been reworked, with a new car-like dashboard and new improved seats. Many of these changes will also be introduced to the European Transit Connect range at a later date.
The US version of the Transit Connect will be produced in the European Ford Otosan assembly plant in Kocaeli/Turkey. This plant has already been producing the European Ford Transit/Tourneo Connect product family since its launch in late 2002.
With around 600,000 units already produced, this compact van family is very well established in the European market. Immediately after its European market launch, the Transit Connect was named International Van of the Year 2003 by an expert jury of commercial vehicle editors.
At the Chicago Show, Ford is also announcing plans to market a pure battery-electric powered version of the Transit Connect in North America. For this project, Ford is working with Smith Electric Vehicles, part of the United Kingdom-based Tanfield Group of companies. Tanfield is the market-leading battery-electric outfitter of commercial vehicles in Europe and already offers battery-electric versions of the Transit medium commercial vehicle to fleet customers in the UK and selected European markets. The new battery-electric version of the Transit Connect will be offered in 2010 at selected United States Ford dealerships
Steve Adams, Vehicle Line Director of Commercial Vehicles, Ford of Europe, comments: "We are happy that the successful Transit Connect is now playing a key role in Ford’s global product strategy. This important member of the Transit family has established a reputation for durability and tough practicality, and we know that these attributes are highly appreciated also by North American customers. We are convinced the Transit Connect will be a perfect addition to the successful Ford commercial vehicle range in America, and with market availability in more than 50 countries on 4 continents, this popular small van is literally connecting Ford globally."