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Ford Offers Preview of Next-Generation Transit

September 11, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

New Ford Transit

Ford Motor Co. has revealed the first images and details of the next-generation Ford Transit family ahead of its international launch at the end of 2013.

CarAdvice reported that the all-new Transit is the latest nameplate to embrace the Detroit-based manufacturer’s ‘One Ford’ global product strategy, with two distinct vehicles to sit either side of the mid-sized Transit Custom in Ford’s commercial vehicle portfolio.

The new compact Ford Transit Connect promises to set new standards for load-carrying ability and cost of ownership in the sub-one-tonne segment, while Ford says the larger model – simply called the Ford Transit  – will bring new levels of capability and versatility to the full-size van market.

The full-size Transit will replace the Ford E-Series range in North America and take over from the two-ton Transit variants in other markets.

Launching in late 2013, the Transit will be offered in a range of body styles and derivatives, including front-, rear- and all-wheel drive layouts, and multiple wheelbases, roof heights and body styles.

U.S. models will be available with two gas engines – a 3.5-litre V6 EcoBoost and another V6 – and a “powerful diesel option”, while the Transit sold in Europe and the rest of the world, will be equipped with the latest 2.2-litre Duratorq TDCi diesel.

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Nissan to Produce Electric Cargo Van in Spain

May 24, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

Nissan's NV200 electric van

Nissan says it will produce an all-electric version of its NV200 cargo van at its assembly plant in Barcelona, Spain, beginning in 2013. This will be the company’s second electric vehicle, joining the compact Leaf in dealers’ showrooms.

Automotive World reported that leveraging the Leaf’s existing electric powertrain, the e-NV200 is expected to offer a similar range, which Nissan pegs at around 100 miles on a charge (though it can be far less in the real world depending on how and where it’s driven) and achieve a similar equivalent to its EPA-certified 106 mpg in city driving.

“The e-NV200 represents a genuine breakthrough in commercial vehicles,” says Nissan’s executive vice-president Andy Palmer. “The new model will offer all the spaciousness, versatility and practicality of a traditionally powered compact van, but with zero CO2 emission at the point of use and also provide an outstanding driving experience that is unique to EV’s.”

While it could take several leaps forward in technology and/or $6.00-per-gallon gasoline for mainstream consumers to embrace all-electric cars, given their exorbitant prices and range limitations, EVs would seem to be immediately well suited as delivery vehicles.

Range isn’t as much of a factor for businesses, as cargo vans typically make relatively short runs with multiple stops, especially in urban areas, and the savings in fuel and maintenance costs could easily offset the added expenditure. For example, unlike conventionally powered vehicles, EVs don’t need oil changes, cooling system flushes or transmission servicing and there’s no air filter, spark plugs or drive belts to replace. There’s also a $7,500 federal income tax credit offered to EV buyers to help make them more affordable, and large cities could well offer generous incentives of their own to help local firms put more zero-emissions trucks into service as a way of improving air quality.

Ford already sells an electric version of its compact Transit Connect delivery van, though production has been halted since the company that builds it – Azure Dynamics – filed for bankruptcy protection in April.

 

 

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Ford to Introduce Euro Transit Van at U.K. Show

April 18, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

Next week, Ford will launch the new Transit Custom cargo van at the Birmingham Commercial Vehicle show in the U.K. MotorTrend reported that the Transit Custom is the hard-working cargo version of the Tourneo Custom passenger van shown earlier this year, and goes on sale across Europe later this year.

It’s important to note that this van is front-wheel drive and rides on what Ford considers a light-duty chassis. The new Ford Transit that will be introduced in the U.S. market by the end of 2012 will be rear-wheel drive, boasting a tougher platform, and may have bolder styling echoing that of the F-Series truck line. As a direct replacement for the aging E-Series/Econoline vans, Ford says the new Transit will be 300 pounds lighter and 25% more fuel-efficient than the E-Series.

About 40% of the body of the new European Ford Transit Custom is made from high-strength steels, which help make the vehicle both lighter and stronger. As a result, Ford says the new van is 37% stiffer than before, which will improve handling and reduce interior noise. There will be two different wheelbases, with overall vehicle length 195.7 inches or 210.2 inches.

Clever concessions to use as a cargo van begin with a pass-through in the bulkhead, allowing long pipes or ladders to be partially carried in the passenger compartment. Ford says the Transit’s sliding doors are larger than those of the competition, and that interior room between the fenders is wider than in other cargo vans. There also will be a folding roof rack, that can easily be stowed when not in use, more convenient cargo area tie-down hooks, and “easy clean” floor surfaces.

Improvements for driver comfort include a seat that can move farther back, a newly telescoping and tilting steering wheel, and the Sync voice recognition software. Also new to the Transit are features like a backup camera, Lane Keeping Alert, and a feature that warns if it detects the driver is tired.

Power comes from Ford’s turbocharged 2.2-liter DuraTorq diesel inline-four engine, with 98 hp, 123 hp, and 153 hp flavors available. It’s very likely one of these will become available in the American-market Ford Transit; the automaker has already confirmed that our rear-wheel-drive Ford Transit will feature both an EcoBoost V-6 and a diesel engine. The European model also gets engine stop-start as standard.

 

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Ford Unveils Sleek Euro Version of E-Series Van

March 20, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

Ford Transit van

The replacement for Ford’s boxy E-series full-size van will be something entirely different, judging by the Tourneo van the automaker will unveil in England next month. Ford just released photos.

As reported by USA Today, the sleek Tourneo is a far cry from the boxy E-series, but Ford say the European van provides a window into the styling of the Transit. A fairly narrow window: While the basic design will stay, the American Transit will have more of a “Built Ford Tough” no-nonsense truck look, as opposed to the swirly-styled Euro version.

The E-Series is the newer name for what used to be to be called the Ford Econoline, which is to this day a mainstay vehicle for many van poolers, plumbers and others.

The American version of the Transit that will eventually replace the E-series and be produced at Ford’s plant in Claycomo, Mo. Ford plans to sell both for awhile, probably to let buyers get used to the idea that the replacement is far more practical and fuel-efficient.

The Tourneo is the middle-sized of the three commercial vans that Ford sells in Europe. It has front-wheel-drive, but the larger Transit will have rear-drive to carry bigger loads when it goes into production in Missouri and Europe.

The Tourneo’s space-age looks are a far cry from the utilitarian design of Ford’s previous European vans. The Tourneo goes on sale in Europe later this year.

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Ford Progresses with U.S. Testing of Transit Van

January 3, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

Ford Motor Co. continues to press ahead with development of the U.S. version of its European Transit van – a popular RV base platform – which is slated to replace Ford’s venerable Econoline wagon and van in 2013.

According to a report by Examiner.com, durability testing of the Transit van chassis continues at Ford’s “top secret” 3,880-acre Michigan Proving Ground (MPG) located in Romeo.

Although the Transit van has been extensively tested at Ford’s Lommel Proving Ground in Belgium, Ford engineers wanted to reassure U.S. customers that the new vehicle can meet their requirements. For that reason the Transit van is scheduled to be put through three months of “durability” testing including curb climbing on the 41 miles of specialized test roads at the MPG facility (probably equivalent to about one week of driving on the dreadful roads here in Los Angeles).

The latter includes a high-speed track and a variety of special surface roads – like gravel, cobblestones and even a road full of potholes – which are designed specifically to assess vehicle performance and durability.

A number of Ford Transit vans have also been loaned out to Ford’s commercial and fleet customers for “real world” testing though they will have to return these loaners after the test period expires.

 

 

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Blogger: Ford Transit Van Platform Ideal for RVs

December 13, 2011 by · 3 Comments 

Ford Transit van

The following is a blog by Examiner.com writer Julian Gothard asserting that Ford Motor Co.’s decision to bring the iconic Ford Transit van to the U.S. in 2013 would provide a versatile, efficient platform for the RV industry.

Workers at Ford Motor Co.’s Claycomo, Kansas City-based assembly plant will build the iconic Ford Transit van – Europe’s best-selling commercial vehicle – beginning in 2013. The U.S. introduction of the Ford Transit van chassis – which remains one of the top base vehicle choices for many European RV coachbuilders including Auto-Campers, Chausson, Tribute and Westfalia (CVC) – will help accelerate the RV industry’s push for smaller and more economical RV’s in North America.

The Ford Transit was judged the best base vehicle by Britain’s Motorcaravan Motorhome Monthly (MMM) magazine in both 2008 and 2009. In 2010, Practical Motorhome magazine voted Auto-Trail’s Tribute T620 motorhome – based on the Ford Transit chassis – the best budget-buy motorhome and the overall motorhome of the year. The magazine also voted the Tribute T720 – again on the Transit chassis – as runner-up in the best family motorhome category

Ford stated in a recent press release that they are investing $1.1 billion in a new body shop, new tooling in the final assembly area, an upgraded paint shop and an all-new integrated stamping plant, which will be located on an adjacent property in Liberty, Mo. A portion of the investment will also be used to support next-generation F-150 pickup production at the plant. The current SUV line at the Kansas City facility, which will be idled for re-tooling after the current Escape model is phased out in April, 2012, will re-open in 2013. During re-tooling, the plant will continue to build F-150 trucks.

While Ford’s current commercial van, the Ford E-Series wagon, van and cutaway – built at the company’s Ohio Assembly Plant in Avon Lake, Ohio – will continue to be available through most of the decade, the cost savings associated with the new Transit van – it can achieve at least 25 percent better fuel economy when compared to similar Econoline vans – could lead to immediate changes in customer purchasing decisions.

Ford currently offers the E-350 and E-450 cutaway van with a motorhome prep package for the Class C recreational vehicle market. The E-Series is also a popular platform for Class B motorhomes. Ford announced in October that production of their F53 Super Duty Class A motorhome chassis – six offerings that range from a 16,000-pound gross-vehicle weight rating (GVWR) chassis to a 26,000-pound GVWR chassis – and F-59 commercial stripped chassis will be moved to their Avon Lake facility in Ohio. As yet there’s been no announcement from Ford disclosing how many US-based RV manufacturers will switch to the new Ford Transit van platform.

In Europe, the Ford Transit chassis is offered in a range of RV wheelbase lengths – from 3.3m to 3.95m – and there’s also a wider rear axle option which provides an improved stance. The European Transit is equipped with a fuel-efficient 115 PS or 140 PS six-speed Duratorq TDCi diesel engine plus an optional coated diesel particulate filter or a 5-cylinder 200ps engine that provides a best-in-class torque.

The Ford Transit chassis can be configured with Front Wheel Drive (FWD), Rear Wheel Drive (RWD) or All-Wheel Drive (AWD) and is equipped with ABS and Brake Assist – a system that detects emergency braking and applies maximum braking effort to potentially reduce the stopping distance – along with a Brake Traction Control System (BTCS) which aids traction when pulling away from rest. The Transit also includes Hill Launch Assist (HLA), which prevents the vehicle from rolling backwards during hill starts by temporarily holding the brakes. In addition, Ford provides the Transit with an Electronic Stability Program (ESP) and a rear view camera – for easier reversing and trailer attachment – as available options.

Americans are on notice that “White Van Man” is coming to the USA and he has every intention of replicating the phenomenal track record of the Ford Transit in both the British and European markets.

 

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