By on May 29, 2015

2 USA commercial van sales chart April 2015 YTD

Ford Motor Company’s Transit Connect has seen the number of its direct rivals rapidly expand over the last two years. Not only must the Transit Connect fend off challenges from the Nissan NV200, now Chevrolet sells a version of the Nissan Van and FCA has imported the Fiat Doblo as the Ram ProMaster City.

Nevertheless, Ford still owns more than half the market for small commercial vans. Through the first four months of 2015, a period in which small commercial van volume in the United States has increased 58%, the Transit Connect’s market share stood at 55%. True, that’s down from 63% in the equivalent period one year ago. But a year ago, there was no such thing as a Chevrolet City Express or Ram ProMaster City. Moreover, Transit Connect volume has increased dramatically. Its 38% year-over-year improvement translates to 4,201 extra sales for Ford MoCo over just four months.

The Transit Connect was a productive product for Ford from the beginning. Ford sold 27,405 Transit Connects in the model’s first full year on sale in America, after which Transit Connect sales increased year after year after year. After year. Last year, as Ford launched a second iteration of the Transit Connect, U.S. sales of the van were 58% stronger than in 2010.

2014 Ford Transit Connect

This year’s pace through the first one-third suggests Ford will could sell more than 50,000 Transit Connects in the U.S. for the first time in 2015. Sales increased in each of 2015’s first four months, a streak which extended out from December 2014, the Transit Connect’s highest-volume month and first 5K+ month ever. Transit Connect volume has improved on a year-over-year basis in 11 of the last 13 months.

Meanwhile, the Transit Connect is America’s fourth-ranked commercial van overall this year, behind the third-ranked full-size Chevrolet Express and two other Fords. The E-Series replacing Transit and the second-ranked E-Series own 54% of the full-size commercial van market.

2015 ford transit

Back in the smaller category, the Transit Connect has outsold the Nissan NV200 (sales of which are up 59% this year) by nearly three-to-one. The Ram Cargo Van is quickly disappearing but generated 2,805 sales in the first four months of 2015, more than the competitors from Chevrolet and Ram. City Express sales form 31% of the Nissan/Chevy twin total. Ram’s ProMaster City has only been on sale for four months. February volume was 35% better than January; March sales quadrupled February’s total; April was 98% better than March.

But all of the Transit Connect’s rivals are fighting over less than half the pie. Few vehicles so clearly dominate their respective vehicle categories.

Timothy Cain is the founder of GoodCarBadCar.net, which obsesses over the free and frequent publication of U.S. and Canadian auto sales figures. Follow on Twitter @goodcarbadcar and on Facebook.

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36 Comments on “Ford Transit Connect Still Owns Half Of U.S. Small Commercial Van Segment...”


  • avatar
    EquipmentJunkie

    No surprise to me. Ford has their act together on both the full-sized and compact vans.

    I just found out that our Transit cab & chassis is scheduled to arrive the last week of June. We drove one with the 3.2 diesel and the 6-spd. auto transmission…what a great pair! Sold! I am looking forward to its arrival.

  • avatar
    bball40dtw

    Part of me really wants a Transit Connect Wagon. However, when I build and price a SWB model out, I cannot justify the $29K acqusition price. I think that is without Nav and leather too. I might as well buy an Edge off the Ford lot. If I really wanted a minivan I could go down the the FCA store and get a Pentastar equipped Grand Caravan for less.

    • 0 avatar
      Nick 2012

      My state buys the SWB 12-passenger versions for $26k.

      http://www.in.gov/idoa/proc/QPA/12865.pdf

      • 0 avatar
        bball40dtw

        Yeah. That’s the full-size Transit. I was talking about the “unminivan” Transit Connect. I would buy a full size Transit with the Ecoboost V6 and take it to Quigley if I needed an offroad home base.

        http://news.pickuptrucks.com/2015/04/quigley-motors-now-offers-ford-transit-4×4.html

        So. Much. Want.

        • 0 avatar
          Nick 2012

          My reading comprehension fail of the day – apologies.

          I too have a major man crush on the Connects. My 62 year old mom of all people sat in a loaded 7 passenger one at the local auto show and really, really liked it. Easy to see around, doesn’t have the minivan image, and above all very useful for grandkids and a dog.

    • 0 avatar
      RideHeight

      “If I really wanted a minivan I could go down the the FCA store and get a Pentastar equipped Grand Caravan for less.”

      Exactly. The unminivan will remain the unsoldvan if they don’t undercut the GC. Personally, I’m very interested in the cargo version. But if you want the seats & windows it gets prohibitively expensive. Bad business case there.

    • 0 avatar
      ringomon

      I looked at these when we were looking for something with sliding doors for the second kid. Noticed the price and shut it down quick. Ended up with a Mazda 5.

      • 0 avatar
        bball40dtw

        Yeah. The TCW STARTS at $3000 higher than the Mazda5. It won’t matter once that Mazda5 is gone though.

        • 0 avatar
          ringomon

          Funny thing is I also wanted a C-Max before they went to traditional doors only for the US market. We have a narrow garage.

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            I own a C-Max, but I would have perferred the Grand C-Max. I also would have paid the prices they are charging for the TCW for the Grand C-Max. The C-Max is a much better vehicle than the TCW when it comes to dynamics, materials, and NVH. $29K for a Grand C-Max SE equipped like my C-Max (cloth, MFT w/Nav, power liftgate, cold weather package, ambient lighting) would have been a slam dunk purchase for me.

          • 0 avatar
            ringomon

            Me too. But we might have been the only ones.

      • 0 avatar
        Joss

        +1 They’re all sure cashing in on current popularity. Transit’s success in being bespoke.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    I really admire the Transit Connect for several reasons – the low entry price, the potentially Spartan interior, the small engine, reasonable fuel economy, the sprightly appearance, and Max Headroom. People seem to love them.

    To my surprise, except for the antenna, it looks like this thing is just low enough to fit in my garage.

    This is probably the only Ford I’d consider buying.

  • avatar
    SlowMyke

    I also have a weird desire for the transit connect. I’d love to get the passenger version of the first gen and dovish out the interior and make it a super comfy road tripper.

  • avatar
    Point Given

    Don’t like the seating position in the transit connect, you sit a bit low and the dash is a bit high.

    • 0 avatar
      RideHeight

      Agree. Just yesterday I was stop & going alongside the first wagon version I’ve seen on the street. Very pleasing to look at except for the sad lack of chassis lift. An average 6-footer actually sits *down* into the seat from a standing position.

      And from the SWB cargo versions I’ve checked out the dash is somewhat high and obstructive to frontal vision. That doesn’t bother me as much as the lack of winter ground clearance. The flip side is of course completely car-like ride and handling.

  • avatar
    Chicago Dude

    I wish Honda would wake up and bring the StepWgn over here. That’s a seriously cool small van that’s the same size as the Transit Connect.

    • 0 avatar
      Nick 2012

      I have a feeling there is a niche for the right MPV in the US at the right price.

      GM nailed an untapped niche with the new Canyon/Colorado mid-size trucks. Maybe FCA could bring us a Multipla?

    • 0 avatar
      RideHeight

      “bring the StepWgn over here”

      OMG, all that delicious Honda build quality in an SWB slidey-door van?
      I’d join that church. It’d be like getting the SWB Caravan/Voyager back but built by Holy People.

  • avatar
    Chicago Dude

    And by the way, the chart says “Commercial Van Sales”, but many of these models have passenger versions. Are the sales numbers shown only for the commercial version of each van, or the combined commercial and passenger sales?

    • 0 avatar
      bball40dtw

      Ford doesn’t break the numbers out. I don’t think other brands do either.

    • 0 avatar
      Scoutdude

      The reality is that the majority of the van sales are commercial in use even if they are passenger versions. Some go to churches/schools, some go to daily rental, some go to other gov’t use, some are put into livery service and a very very small portion are personal use.

  • avatar
    eggsalad

    Question unrelated to the meat of the story:

    Why is FCA competing with itself by selling the RAM Cargo alongside the RAM ProMaster City? I realize they’re very different vehicles, but it still seems odd to compete with oneself in a given market segment.

  • avatar
    Ion

    It’s funny when these first came out all the internet pundits said no one would buy them because wagons and no manual. I insisted it was the perfect niche. I do think they should start offering a hybrid option though.

    • 0 avatar
      RideHeight

      The past several years of seeing business after business decide they’re good investments has probably had an effect. It makes me consider a Ford, anyway.

  • avatar
    CB1000R

    I think I may need to come out, one of these days. As a van guy. I am still a little vanbivalent, as a single 48-y/o dude driving a 2001 T&C. Should probably just let the freak flag fly, and buy that used Savanna conversion, or RAM cargo. Deep-down, I know this is who I am…

  • avatar
    Slow_Joe_Crow

    As truck the Transit Connect was definitely the right product at the right price at the right time. It didn’t hurt that Ford’s dominant position in the full sized van and pickup market gave them a strong beachhead in fleet sales.
    As a car the TC fell short when I cross-shopped it with its closest equivalent the sadly no longer available Mazda5. The Mazda managed to be both nicer and cheaper than a 1st gen TC. The new generation may sell a few more because it is closer to the Mazda5 in comfort, appearance and 3 rows of seats, and the Mazda is out of the market.

  • avatar
    RHD

    By cleverly combining all variants under one name, Ford achieves astounding numbers, and the resulting bragging rights. The same approach works for the F-Series trucks.

  • avatar
    James2

    Having seen both a high-roof and normal-roof Transit, it looks like Ford designed it as a high-roof from the start, then just chopped the hell out of it. Anyway, Chevy must think WTF that even when it’s going away the E-Series still outsells it.

    • 0 avatar
      dtremit

      I think there’s actually *three* roof heights for the Transit, so it wouldn’t shock me if they’d styled to the middle one.

      Also, I would guess a lot of remaining E-series sales are chassis cab — that market is likely to be slower to adapt as third-party customizers are going to have to do a lot of retooling.

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