By on August 31, 2009
Ford has a gushing press release out on the US’ first month of Transit Connect sales; and a booming small business economic sector! You know things are a bit dicey when a survey saying ”9 percent of small business owners plan to hire additional staff within the next three months” gets its own big bold bullet point. That nine percent planning to hire means that the other 91% plan to either hold pat or let employees go. Ouch, those are bad numbers.
Even so, the Transit Connect has had a strong opening month in the US with relatively little promotion. Ford claims that the vehicles are spending less than ten days in dealer inventory before going to permanent homes. Interestingly, while the Chicago region reported the strongest Transit Connect business user sales, Southern California led in personal use sales. Los Angeles area “dealers report sales to a diverse range of hobbyists needing extra space to efficiently haul everything from show dogs to motor scooters.” Chicago gets down to business while SoCal goes out to play. Sounds like everything is back to normal in America again. We just needed a Turkish trucklet to get us on our way.
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37 Comments on “Ford PR in High Gear as Transit Connect Sells 2,000 Units in First Month...”


  • avatar
    Paul Niedermeyer

    A smart move on Ford’s part; saw my first one on the street here yesterday. But the dollar’s continued decline against the euro is going to ding any actual profit for Ford.

  • avatar
    Jimal

    I didn’t realize these were out yet. Good for them. Now for the trivia question for which I have no answer. What is the first digit of the VIN on one of these? I believe this is the first vehicle assembled in Poland for U.S. sale? I could look this up of course, but I have to get to class…

  • avatar
    beken

    You know, I was just thinking if I needed a small truck to carry lots of stuff, I would get one of these over a minivan. I would even consider it over a Mazda5 or Honda Element.

  • avatar
    jmo

    Saw my first one the other day. It was owned by a plumber and had all the signage. When gas prices rise Ford is going to do a huge business selling these to the F-150/ Full size van commercial market.

  • avatar
    xargs

    @Jimal: Turkey. But I don’t think we’ve gotten many cars from Turkey either, and I’m in the market for one of these to perhaps replace my old beater Toyota truck.

    Too bad we don’t get the diesel/stick version that is pretty much the only thing sold in Europe.

    It’d be nice to have a little delivery vehicle that got even better than 20/24mpg…

  • avatar
    TEXN3

    Saw 2 within the past 3 weeks…not on dealer lots or with dealer tags. One was around Sun Valley (Idaho) with a ski rack and hitch-mounted bike rack.

  • avatar
    John Horner

    I’m really glad this vehicle is off to a good start. We have needed this class of vehicle in the US for a long time, but for decades all the makers thought US consumers wouldn’t buy them. Bravo to Ford (Mulally!) for finally opening up this segment in the US. Trucklets have sold in mass quantities everywhere else in the world for ages.

    Next year’s Electrified (by sub-contractor Smith Industries) Transit Connect should be interesting to see as well. It could easily outsell the Volt :).

    Next up Ford should replace the aged Econoline vans with the much more modern full size European Transit vans. Rumor has it this is going to happen.

    http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/1/19/Ford_Transit_front_20071124.jpg

  • avatar
    P71_CrownVic

    Why is it Ford is able to import this forgettable, ugly, bland vehicle but that can’t import a vehicle people (not fleets) actually want…like a Mondeo, Kuga, Euro Focus, or Falcon?

    “One step forward and two steps back” should be Ford’s new slogan.

  • avatar

    Saw one at a Locksmith recently…I’m gonna ask them if they can cut/program a Transit Connect key in house for less than the dealer.

  • avatar
    NulloModo

    Sajeev – Not sure if you have seen one up close, but the Transit Connect has a very funky key, to be honest, I’m not sure how they make them, but it isn’t cut like a traditional key, it is more three dimensional (I realize all keys are three dimensional, but that is the best way I can think to describe it).

  • avatar
    skaro

    Whoah.. just so happens I just got home from test driving one of these.

    I was fairly impressed. The engine was smooth, didn’t thrash, and I was a little surprised by the acceleration, stability on the highway, handling and maneuverability.

    A really simple, clean and effective vehicle.

    Yeah- the key was really weird. Would have to be some special locksmith.

  • avatar
    beller

    ford’s pr dept is second to none

  • avatar
    NulloModo

    beller – 2000 sales with no real marketing push for a vehicle that is only aimed at business customers is an incredible achievement, especially when you consider that fleet and business sales are hurting even worse than retail auto sales at the moment. Yes, it is PR, but it is an honest to goodness remarkable bit of good news to toot about.

  • avatar

    NulloModo : Sajeev – Not sure if you have seen one up close…

    I guess that means you didn’t read my review of it about a month ago. (sad face)

    FWIW, the fleet guy at the Ford dealer said making a new key requires machines/tools/whatever similar to what’s used in Jag dealers. And he quoted me $300 for parts and labor/programming for a new key.

  • avatar
    jmo

    Not sure if you have seen one up close, but the Transit Connect has a very funky key, to be honest, I’m not sure how they make them, but it isn’t cut like a traditional key, it is more three dimensional

    Is it like a Jaguar key?

    http://www.keys4classics.com/images2/read_Tibbe_45deg_DIY.jpg

  • avatar
    RetardedSparks

    Saw one two weeks ago on the street in NYC..
    ..with a parking ticket!

  • avatar
    NulloModo

    Sajeev – Whoops, yes, I did read the review, actually I might have even commented on it, for some reason I had it in my head that Baruth did it, my bad.

    jmo – Yes, it is exactly like that.

  • avatar
    BuzzDog

    Jimal, it appears that the first digit of the VIN is “N.” At least that’s the case with the two currently listed on eBay.

  • avatar
    John Horner

    I think that funny round cross section key is standard Ford of Europe issue. Europe has an even worse vehicle theft problem than the US does and they go to greater lengths trying to slow down the bad guys.

  • avatar
    John Horner

    “Why is it Ford is able to import this forgettable, ugly, bland vehicle but that can’t import a vehicle people (not fleets) actually want…like a Mondeo, Kuga, Euro Focus, or Falcon?”

    Well, the Euro Fiesta is coming next year. The next round of Focus redesigns are supposed to be the same the world over. The Fusion will supposedly converge with the Mondeo. Mulally seems very serious about his One Ford plan. These things do take some time though.

    The Transit Connect fills a market niche literally nobody has been serving in the US. The people who are buying them are real live flesh and blood human beings paying real money. These are not discounted fleet sales.

  • avatar
    gslippy

    I’ve figured out why I like the Connect: It reminds me of my Gen 1 xB in van format. Simple, cheap, lots of utility, and no bloat.

    If a 7-seater becomes available, I’m on it.

  • avatar
    Rix

    Personally, I think it’s ugly. But they’ll sell a ton to tradesmen. Probably most of whom drive Rangers.

  • avatar
    Jimal

    @Buzzdog,
    Copy “N”, as in “Not assembled in Poland”. Thanks.

    I like it. It isn’t something I would currently be in the market for. Now if I get to the point whre I’m looking at minivans, I would lean toward this as opposed to a standard minivan; if nothing else then to be a little different.

  • avatar
    dwford

    “Why is it Ford is able to import this forgettable, ugly, bland vehicle but that can’t import a vehicle people (not fleets) actually want…like a Mondeo, Kuga, Euro Focus, or Falcon?”

    The Transit Connect does not replace anything in the current lineup. Ford’s Euro designs are on the way as Ford sync’s up it’s global design process. Yes they screwed up in the past, should have brought the current Euro Focus over years ago blah blah blah.

    You’ll have the Fiesta in 10 months and the new Focus a year from now. Get over it.

  • avatar
    NOPR

    I REALLY wish this would have been available when I bought my gen2 xB. I was in the market for a big, fuel efficient vehicle to move a lot of crap around in, the xB was the best I could find. I test drove the transit connect a few weeks ago and it was great, would be absolutely perfect for me.

    I’m secretly somewhat dissapointed that it’s doing so well because prices certainly aren’t going to come down any time soon.

  • avatar
    BuzzDog

    @jimal: One strange thing about the VIN is that the second digit is an “M,” which indicates Mercury. I wonder if perhaps that’s because Ford has typically imported vehicles through the Mercury division, at least European ones.

    At this time in the Transit Connect’s launch, it seems slightly pricey for what you get, at least objectively. But that seems to be Ford’s value proposition for new products; witness the new Taurus. It would be nice to see it work, because it will prove that the U.S. can build desirable vehicles; if not, expect to see some cash on the hoods/bonnets by spring.

  • avatar
    shaker

    I read (somewhere) that you need the key to unlock the hood (bonnet) – True?

    Looks like a Mazda 5′s big albino brother…

  • avatar
    CuoreSprtv

    Friend of mine from the local bycicle club got one of them as his personal car. Bare, no rear seats, he can fit couple road bikes and a tandem no problem. He loves the we it rides and the mileage, I like it too, only thing we need diesel+stick, good job Ford!

  • avatar
    Banger

    Rix:

    “Personally, I think it’s ugly. But they’ll sell a ton to tradesmen. Probably most of whom drive Rangers.”

    And if the wife and I have a couple of kids between now and the time that my 2006 Ranger has, say, 200,000 miles on it (should take another six or eight years), I’ll be looking at one, too. Thing is, I’m not a tradesman. I just appreciate real-world, bare-bones functionality to a greater degree, it would seem, than does the general car-buying public. That’s the reason my Ranger is bare bones– except for the air conditioning. That’s one option I will not cede.

  • avatar
    jaje

    This is honestly one of Ford’s best vehicles they’ve ever made. It is the standard delivery vehicle in most of Europe – one of the workhorses. With its ability to do what most body on frame vans do while getting better fuel economy and looking unique – it should be a big winner here. Why Ford never brought it over earlier is beyond me.

    I’m definitely on the band wagon for them to bring over the diesel versions – get even better mpg.

  • avatar
    JMII

    Saw one on the road the other day and its “right sized” for sure. Not too big, not too small, very, very European/IKEA looking, I hope it sells. The front end looks like its low enough to provide good visibility, which is something that’s lacking in most SUVs/trucks due to their long, flat hoods.

  • avatar
    Juniper

    The import fanboys are all wetting their pants over this one. Just what we need, an underpowered big ass box blocking the highways. I understand the commercial users but the best part is the personal use. An EMPTY slow big box blocking traffic.
    Apparently the only thing better would be a noisy stinking Diesel.

  • avatar
    RetardedSparks

    It’s funny how many people talk about hauling people in this, yet the Mazda5 has been around for several years, has been mocked for it’s sliding doors, and sells a whopping couple of dozen a year.

    That vehicle is based on the universally acclaimed Mazda3 platform (fun to drive) and is available with a stick. Yet nobody buys ‘em.

    Curious.

  • avatar
    Matthew Danda

    How good/bad is crash protection for rear-seat passengers?

  • avatar
    Jimal

    BuzzDog: “One strange thing about the VIN is that the second digit is an “M,” which indicates Mercury. I wonder if perhaps that’s because Ford has typically imported vehicles through the Mercury division, at least European ones.

    At this time in the Transit Connect’s launch, it seems slightly pricey for what you get, at least objectively. But that seems to be Ford’s value proposition for new products; witness the new Taurus. It would be nice to see it work, because it will prove that the U.S. can build desirable vehicles; if not, expect to see some cash on the hoods/bonnets by spring.”

    That is interesting. Another thing I thought of is whether they are going to incorporate those child seat anchors in the back. I looked at the website this morning and didn’t see anything about that in the information on the available rear seat. A few gadgets like that and this thing would be an alternative to a traditional minivan for many people.

  • avatar
    Highway27

    I saw my first one of these today on the road, and was actually struck by how small it was. Not that it’s a tiny little car, or even small like an xB, but small for a commercial vehicle. I think that’s what’s really going to make the difference.

  • avatar
    ohsnapback

    2000?

    Wow, at that rate, assuming small businesses don’t get further decimated (a big “if”), Ford may sell a whole 20,000 of these for the year.


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