Ford Transit Connect

Translations of this material:

into Russian: Ford Transit Connect. Translation complete.
Submitted for translation by RusCloud 15.08.2010 Published 7 years, 11 months ago.

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The Ford Transit Connect is a compact panel van developed by Ford Europe and manufactured by Ford Otosan, designed by Peter Horbury and introduced in 2002 to replace the older Ford Escort and Fiesta-based Courier van ranges, which had ceased production in the same year.

The Ford Tourneo Connect, a leisure activity vehicle, is a Transit Connect with side windows and rear seats. All North American Transit Connects destined for the USA are imported as passenger vehicles to circumvent the 25% "Chicken Tax" on imported light trucks.

The Transit Connect employs the front-wheel drive Ford C170 platform of the original international Ford Focus — the same platform currently used with the North American Ford Focus. Other than the name, it shares few components with the Transit. The Connect is manufactured by Otosan in an all new production plant at Gölcük, near Kocaeli, Turkey, and in Romania by Automobile Craiova.

The Ford Transit Connect was awarded "Van of the Year 2004" by Professional Van and Light Truck Magazine. In its first year on the North American market, the Transit Connect was awarded "North American Truck of the Year 2010" at the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS).

Ford Transit Connect X-Press

The Ford Transit Connect X-press is a much faster version of the Ford Transit Connect. It was created by a team of Ford engineers using the 212BHP engine from the Ford Focus RS as shown on Fifth Gear.

Facelifted (2009–): global model

Since mid-2009, the Transit Connect has been imported to the United States and Canada. It was first shown in the U.S at the 2008 Chicago Auto Show and the 2010 model was introduced at the following year's show on February 11, 2009. The introduction of the North American variant coincided with a mid-life facelift which includes a restyled front grille, a deeper front bumper and a new dashboard featuring the switchgear and instrument pod from the C307 Focus.

Initially, only the long wheelbase version of the van, outfitted with a 2.0L four-cylinder petrol engine and 4 speed automatic transmission, was offered in the U.S., whereas elsewhere, the 1.8L diesel engine and 5 speed manual transmission was the only available powertrain. An electric version is to follow about a year after launch, converted by Azure Dynamics Corporation at a U.S. facility.

To build up interest and awareness in North America, Transit Connects specifically equipped as "mobile showrooms" were taken to industrial parks and other appropriate venues in 13 U.S. urban areas in May 2009, with the goal of offering 3,000 test drives to small business owners.

To circumvent the 25% tariff on imported light trucks (known as the 1964 Chicken tax), Ford imports all Transit Connects as passenger vehicles with rear windows, rear seats and rear seatbelts. The vehicles are exported from Turkey on cargo ships owned by Wallenius Wilhelmsen Logistics, arrive in Baltimore, and are converted into commercial vehicles at WWL Vehicle Services Americas Inc. facility: rear windows are replaced with metal panels and rear seats removed (except on wagons). The removed parts are then recycled. The process exploits a loophole in the customs definition of a commercial vehicle. As cargo doesn't need seats with seat belts or rear windows, presence of those items exempts the vehicle from commercial vehicle status. The process costs Ford only hundreds of dollars per van, but saves thousands. Partly because of this, only the long wheelbase, high roof configurations are exported to North America.

Electric vehicles

Ford confirmed at the 2009 Chicago Auto Show its development with Smith Electric Vehicles of a battery-powered version of the Transit Connect. Then at the 2009 Geneva Auto Show Ford showed a prototype electric version of the Ford Tourneo Connect passenger van, which is closely related to the Ford Transit Connect. Ford originally announced Smith Electric Vehicles would install electric drivetrains and lithium-ion battery packs in the vehicles, but Ford later announced it would partner with Azure Dynamics Corporation instead with Johnson Controls-Saft as battery supplier. In May 2010, AM General was chosen as the assembler of the vehicle, beginning late in the year and reaching full-capacity production in April 2011.

Aftermarket

In 2008 Smith Electric Vehicles launched the Smith Ampere battery electric vehicle based on the Ford Transit Connect chassis, and stated it would be joint branded Ford and Smith.