The fight for bragging rights as the top seller of commercial vans in the U.S. has entered a new phase, and how it ends up matters to Ford Motor Co. and the Kansas City, Mo., area economy.
As reported by the Kansas City Star, the Transit van began production last week at Ford’s Claycomo plant, with one shift that added 900 jobs and will build 300 Transits a day. The company expects to add a second shift later this year with an additional 800 to 1,000 employees. Depending on demand there could eventually be even more.
Ford has a lot riding on making that happen. The Transit, new to North America, will replace its E-series vans, the best-selling commercial vans in the United States.
The company said the Transit is a big advancement over its E-series and will be able to fight off competitors with improvements such as better fuel economy and more configurations, including three different roof heights. Safety features such as a rear-view camera and a system that alerts when you stray out of a lane will be offered for the first time.
At the Claycomo plant the company already makes the F-150 pickup truck, also a best seller.