Ford Transit Assembly Begins

The eventual replacement for the ubiquitous Econoline, the Ford Transit van, started rolling off the line April 30 at the Kansas City Assembly Plant.

On sale this summer, Ford said its next-generation full-size van family will provide tradespeople and businesses with increased capability and innovative new configurations in the growing commercial vehicle market.

“Producing our Built Ford Tough Transit lineup in Kansas City is a big deal for the local community,” said Joe Hinrichs, Ford president of The Americas. “Our investment in Kansas City Assembly Plant for Transit production is about delivering world-class commercial vans for a new generation of commercial customers – while building on our decades of leadership in the market and supporting new jobs throughout the region and across America.”

Ford said the Transit is born from nearly a century of experience delivering two distinct full-size vans to customers in America, Europe and other global markets.

In the U.S., the Transit eventually will replace America’s best-selling van for 35 years, the E-Series van, first sold in 1961 as Ford Econoline.

E-Series vans and wagons still will be available and sold side-by-side with the Transit into the 2014 calendar year, providing a seamless transition for customers, said Ford. Additionally, the E-Series cutaway and stripped chassis will continue to be built and sold through most of the rest of the decade.

The Transit was introduced in Europe in 1965 and has been the best-selling commercial van in the UK for 49 years. Ford said the Transit is currently sold in 118 markets on six continents.

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The high-roof Transit – with best-in-class 81.5 inches of maximum interior cargo height – provides enough headroom for a person 6 feet 8 inches tall to stand upright in the cargo area.

Per Ford, the new Transit van offers as much as 487 cubic feet of cargo volume and 4,650 pounds of maximum payload capacity, and delivers a maximum towing capacity of 7,600 pounds.

In some configurations, the Transit offers as much as much as 75 percent more cargo volume than the largest E-Series, helping customers save in fuel costs and time associated with having to make a second trip, stated Ford. Maximum payload increases more than 600 pounds across the Transit van lineup versus comparable E-Series vans.

The Transit will be available in three body lengths, two wheelbases on van and wagon and three roof heights; in van, wagon, chassis cab and cutaway body styles; and in XL and XLT trim levels, offering more choices than ever from a Ford commercial van vehicle.

Moving from an all-gasoline engine lineup of two V8s and a V10 in E-Series, the Transit comes standard with a 3.7-liter V6 engine and offers the Ford F-150’s 3.5-liter EcoBoost engine, along with a globally proven available 3.2-liter Power Stroke diesel option, said Ford. Each engine is paired with a six-speed automatic transmission in a rear-wheel-drive layout.

Ford has not yet revealed horsepower numbers as well as mpg ratings for these new Transit.