Monday, December 19, 2011

Future CV products at Ford include new Transit van and plug-in trucks

Future CV products at FordFord Motor Co. is prepping a next-generation Transit van for the North American market as part of ongoing upgrades to its commercial vehicle (CV) lineup. In the 2013 calendar year, the updated Transit will join the automaker's other Class 1 through Class 7 CV offerings.

The next-generation Transit will be at least 300 lb (136 kg) lighter than today's E-Series van and provide a minimum 25% fuel-economy improvement, Derrick Kuzak, Group Vice President of Ford's Global Product Development, said at a Dec. 7 commercial vehicles media event at the company's Dearborn, MI, Product Development Center.

According to Rob Stevens, Ford's Chief Program Engineer for Commercial Vehicles, the Transit van eventually will replace the E-Series full-size van in the North American marketplace following an undetermined period of overlap between the nameplates.

The Transit van's unibody is an underlying reason for the vehicle being lighter weight than an E-Series counterpart. The current Transit van is offered in three different wheelbases, four different body lengths, and three different roof heights.

Ford is investing $1.1 billion to retrofit one-half of its Kansas City Assembly Plant to accommodate the production of the Transit van for the North American market. (Production of F-150 light-duty pickup trucks will be unaffected by the facility upgrades.)

The automaker currently sells its Transit van outside the North American market in various cargo, passenger, and chassis cab configurations with a choice of three diesel engines—a 2.2-L four-cylinder, a 2.4-L four-cylinder, and a 3.2-L five-cylinder.

Transit Connect, Transit Connect Electric, and Transit Connect Taxi are C-Class commercial vans. All have sold globally for a decade. In the U.S. market, the Transit Connect launched in MY2010 while the Transit Connect Electric and Transit Connect Taxi launched in MY2011.


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