Ford might build a super Transit.
As the company unveiled its new one-tonne Transit in the CV Show at the NEC along with its concept for a two-tonne version for Europe, sources confirmed the company has an opportunity to build an even larger model.
Ford said that such a model would better suit the wide open spaces of the United States.
Whether it would be called by its Transit name from the UK market or take its European Torneo name is unclear, but it is likely to use a completely different designation and possibly follow the letter and number series so beloved of US buyers.
The American market already has a medium-sized delivery van and makes approximately 600,000 of these annually, and it is likely this would be replaced by the new bigger Transit-type model.
To be a true global model, Ford must sell it in the United States and it will have to take a decision in the near future on where to build it and when to introduce it if it’s to be on US roads within two years. Ford has already made US models of its European cars and they have been very well received in America.
Ford has consistently said it plans to revise all its European range models, both cars and commercial vehicles by 2014 and the Transit is a key model for the company in 90 markets worldwide.
The new one-tonne Transit is only front wheel drive and has a specific powertrain for CV use. Later this year, Ford will show their two-tonne Transit and that is going to have rear wheel drive as well as the heavier payload ability and bigger engines than its smaller stablemate.
The new Transit models have been designed and engineered in Europe, VP of Product Development Barb Samardzich said on the eve of the unveiling, adding, “They had the ability to call on all our global resources and technologies to bring the best possible product to our customers anywhere in the world.”
The unveiling of the Transit in the NEC show was a world premiere of what Ford describes as a global vehicle, but senior Ford Transit CV Line Director Paul Randle said there were no plans for the US market with the one-tonne van as displayed at the NEC.
CV chief designer Paul Campbell said that existing owners of Transit models worldwide were asked what they loved or loathed about the current model and their feedback had been considered for the new model.
Highlights of the new Transit are a very car-like cabin and controls, its big front lights, upswept panel lines, bigger loadbed, through-hatch for long loads, latched back doors and fold flat roof rails.
Ford UK MD Mark Ovenden said that in Britain, Transit took 30pc of sales in its sector and it was important to keep the model fresh and desirable.
“I think there is now less of a market for the purely utility van and independent businesses in particular want a van which says something about them and how they are doing and the Transit has become an icon in that respect.”
The current Transit will continue alongside the new Transit for sometime as the range of the new model is gradually expanded over the next 18 months.
The Ford announcement was one of the most important pieces of business van news to come out of the CV Show as it holds on iconic place in the industry and a popular search in our business van comparison table.