If you like Ford's small Transit Connect van, you had better get in line now to purchase one or two or a dozen if you need that many, as the automaker has plans to end sales of the van by the end of next year, according to Automotive News.
Automaker Cancels Plans
The trade paper noted that the automaker canceled plans to build the next-generation Transit Connect van in Mexico. According to three knowledgeable people familiar with the plan, Ford developed a plan last year to produce the next-gen version of the van, "code-named V758," at the automaker's Hermosillo, Mexico, Assembly Plant. Under the plan, Transit Connects would have shared the same platform as the popular Maverick compact pickup and the Bronco Sport, both built at Hermosillo.
Currently, Ford imports its Transit Connects from Spain. According to the sources that discussed the plans with Automotive News, the automaker scrapped the plans and will stop importing the compact van from Spain by the end of next year. Although the Transit Connect will no longer be sold in the U.S., the marque will still be sold in Europe.
If the plan had gone forward, Automotive News said, the van would have expanded the automaker's use of the C2 front-drive platform. This architecture is the basis for the Ford Escape and Lincoln Corsair crossovers. Transit Connects are available in commercial and passenger versions.
The trade paper noted that sales have slipped. In July this year, sales were down about 15 percent, or 15,919 vehicles.
Ford Emphasizes Commercial Side
Under Ford's CEO Jim Farley, commercial vehicle sales are essential to the business model. Indeed, the trade paper noted that Farley created the Ford Pro division to cater to commercial buyers by offering a comprehensive suite of vehicles and services.
Automotive News pointed out that the automaker could very likely make up for sales of the compact Transit Connect van with its "growing lineup of full-sized Transit vans." Already, the full-sized van not only serves a commercial role, but the automaker has added a fully electric version of the Transit van, the E-Transit. Next year, the Transit family will grow again with the addition of an off-road version, two people familiar with the plan told the trade paper.
Ford declined to comment on this article.
Marc Stern has been an automotive writer since 1971 when an otherwise normal news editor said, "You're our new car editor," and dumped about 27 pounds of auto stuff on my desk. I was in heaven as I have been a gearhead from my early days. As a teen, I spent the usual number of misspent hours hanging out at gas stations Shell and Texaco (a big thing in my youth) and working on cars. From there on, it was a straight line to my first column for the paper, "You Auto Know," an enterprise I handled faithfully for 32 years. Not many people know that I also handled computer documentation for a good part of my living while writing YAN. My best writing, though, was always in cars. My work has appeared in Popular Mechanics, Mechanix Illustrated, AutoWeek, SuperStock, Trailer Life, Old Cars Weekly, Special Interest Autos, etc. You can follow me on: Twitter or Facebook.