Wednesday, February 6, 2008

The New Frod Transit Connect


CHICAGO, Feb. 6, 2008 – Ford is tapping its global product strengths to mobilize and connect small business owners in North America with the European-engineered Ford Transit Connect.

Introduced today at the Chicago Auto Show, Transit Connect is designed to bring American small business owners a new vehicle choice that offers improved fuel economy, bigger load capacity and better cargo accessibility than today’s commercial vehicle offerings.

“Ford Transit Connect is built on a dedicated, commercial vehicle platform to meet the rigors business use demands. This workhorse is like nothing available today in the American market,” said Derrick Kuzak, Ford group vice president of Global Product Development. “The Transit Connect provides another example of Ford’s commitment to deliver 100 percent new or upgraded products that people truly want and value by the end of 2010,” he said.

With its standard, 2.0-liter, four-cylinder engine and automatic transmission, Transit Connect delivers fuel economy estimated at 19 mpg city and 24 mpg highway.

Transit Connect will be a truly white-space product for North America. Its closest competitors are cargo vans offered by Chevrolet and Dodge. Transit Connect will provide a significant city fuel economy advantage, while offering more cargo space. Both are increasingly important to small business owners in today’s changing marketplace.

“More than ever before, consumers are making the bulk of their purchases from the Internet and smaller, specialty businesses, which is increasing the volume of small package deliveries,” said Kuzak. “Transit Connect is ideally suited to meet those delivery needs because of its flexible package, compact size and fuel-efficient powertrain. It will make the delivery process for small business owners easier and more affordable.”

Car+Van+Truck = Transit Connect
Complementing its truck toughness, Transit Connect handles and performs like a car and offers car-like fuel economy, interior comforts and safety features. “It drives like a car, works like a van and is engineered to be as tough as a truck,” said Rob Stevens, Chief Engineer of Ford Transit Connect in the U.S.

This compact van was built around the following key attributes:

Class-leading cargo area functionality and versatility
High levels of durability through the use of thick, high-strength steel and a reinforced body shell with partial double skin sides and twin side crossmembers
Responsive and fuel-efficient powertrain
High levels of security and safety, with a rigid body structure, side impact protection, dual front air bags and an array of security features, including a lockable hood
Low cost of ownership, from lower fuel costs to powertrain durability
Opening with Versatility
Transit Connect has cargo doors on both sides and at the rear – dual sliding side doors and 180-degree-opening rear doors – that make accessing its generous cargo area convenient. Its front doors have large openings, making getting in and out of the vehicle easy – an important design feature for delivery people.

For its size and urban maneuverability, the Transit Connect cargo capacity is a massive 143 cubic feet. It can accommodate loads up to 6.5 ft. in length and 4.7 ft. in width.

“Transit Connect can swallow far more cargo than its users might think,” said Len Deluca, Director of Ford Commercial Trucks.

“Its versatile cargo area gives Transit Connect an unequivocal advantage, accommodating for large, flat-sided loads and providing a totally flat load floor,” he said.

Straight and square side walls of the Transit Connect also mean business on the outside. They provide a clean surface and perfect positioning for commercial branding logos and messages. Inside, storage systems can make Transit Connect ideal for specific businesses.

For the Chicago show, Ford kitted out Transit Connects highlighting three local businesses – including a catering and event planning company, a wine wholesaler and home technology integration firm – as well as a five-member Chicago blues band.

The Windy City is a fitting place to debut the versatile Transit Connect. Its maneuverability makes it ideal for urban use, where streets are congested and parking space for delivery or service vehicles is limited. Its tight turning radius makes Transit Connect as nimble as a compact car. And its height makes it ideal for tight parking garages with limited-height clearances – Transit Connect gets in and out of garages with as little as 6 ft. 8 in. clearance.

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