By on September 19, 2017

2015 Ford Transit

Ford Motor Company will be idling Transit production at its Kansas City Assembly Plant for seven days next week to account for waning sales (Update: Ford says its because of a recall. See the end of this post for details). Diminished deliveries aside, Ford’s Transit remains the preferred choice among van connoisseurs and was America’s best-selling large van in 2016. But not every year can be better than the last.

U.S. Transit sales dropped roughly 15 percent in August and stands at 80,292 units through the first eight months of the year —representing nearly a 22-percent loss against last year’s volume. Meanwhile, Canadian deliveries have been exceptional. But that’s not enough to compensate for the U.S. slump. 

The Kansas City facility also produces Ford’s ever-popular F-150. But if you think the F-Series needs to be idled, you’re sorely mistaken. Ford’s pickup remains more desirable than ever and is on track to have its best sales year in over a decade.

“We continue to match production with demand, as we always do,” a Ford spokeswoman said in a statement.

However, there’s no reason to be concerned over the Transit’s long-term success. It persists as the best-selling vehicle in its class, both here and abroad. In fact, Ford recently invested $52 million into its Kocaeli plant in Turkey to bolster production and meet European demand for the model. The company expects its Turkey-based production volume to expand to around 330,000 vehicles per year.

Back in Missouri, unionized workers responsible for two Transit shifts will be placed on temporary layoff beginning Monday, September 25th. They’ll return to work October 2nd, according to UAW Local 249, which represents the plant’s approximately 7,000 employees.

Update: An updated version of the Automotive News story indicates that a recall of over 400,000 Transits to fix a faulty driveshaft flex coupling is the reason for the halt in Transit production. — Tim Healey

[Image: Ford Motor Co.]    [Source: Automotive News]

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17 Comments on “Ford Transit Production Stalled for One Week, F-150 Assembly Remains at Full Throttle [UPDATED]...”


  • avatar
    SaulTigh

    Drove one of these (in 15 passenger configuration) a couple years ago that my company rented for a big meeting where 400 people came in from the field and spent a week at HQ. I was super impressed with it. Handled well for it’s size and height and the Ecoboost V6 had tons of power with very little drama, even fully loaded. Decent fuel economy too.

    I’m kinda hoping these find a place in the used market for camping and the like, just like vans were when I was a kid.

    • 0 avatar
      windnsea00

      Ford made the Transit far better driving than they needed to. I was driving a U-haul cargo van recently and was shocked at how responsive the base V6 and transmission was along with a firm brake pedal with nice bite. The steering had pretty good feel/weight and response also, it was genuinely fun to drive. The Sprinter is pleasant to drive but nowhere near as “fun.” And this is coming from a sports car guy that daily’s a 911.

  • avatar
    Scoutdude

    The problem is that while the sales of the Transit have been falling the sales of the GM twins have been increasing.

    So maybe there is cause for concern as those people who thought that this was a worth successor to the E series are finding out that euro vans don’t match the longevity, durability and up time of the old school American style van. Fact is even though the number of different models of the E series keep shrinking they are up for the year. So much for those Transit Cutaways making any real headway into that market.

    • 0 avatar
      el scotto

      Outside of airbags and ABS; Chevy is leading the way with 1950s technology!!!

    • 0 avatar
      JohnTaurus

      Well, Ford sold more than twice as many Transits in August than Chevy did Express, according to goodcarbadcar.com. Transit sold over 1,000 units, Express barely cracked 400. Demand for Transit may be slowing somewhat, but its still the best seller by a decent margin.

      • 0 avatar
        Scoutdude

        Yeah but look at those year over year numbers for the Savanna.

        GMC up 60%
        Chevy up 7%
        Transit down 21%
        E-series up 9%

        So yeah Ford is still in the lead for now, but their complete and total dominance in the segment is slipping away.

        Year end 2016 Ford had 52% of the full size van market more than twice GM’s 23%. As of the end of Aug GM had 28% YTD, a 5% gain, while Ford slips to 48%, a 4% drop.

        Things are even worse for Ford in the compact segment where their YTD market share is 41% compared to 51% for the 2016 year end.

        Ford now has less than 50% of the market in commercial vans for the first time in very many years, to me that would be a cause for concern.

        • 0 avatar
          DeadWeight

          Ford would be operating at a large loss if not for the F-150, and that’s even assuming current SUV/CUV sales/margins.

          Ford is waaaay too much a one-trick pony at this point for its own good, and is highly susceptible to sudden and severe distress is any one things or combination of things significantly impacts its F-Series sales.

          As Wu-Tang Fjnancial would advise the Ford Family, “y’all need to diversify yo assets, my n—-s.”

    • 0 avatar
      Hydromatic

      How much of that is 1)better fleet deals and 2)better and cheaper parts availability? Because I imagine the GM vans are cheaper to purchase and repair, which seems to be a big factor in the average fleet manager’s purchasing decision process.

      • 0 avatar
        Scoutdude

        The other advantage the GM twins have, at least for those fleets that already own them is the ability to transfer the equipment from the old vehicle. But yeah I suspect some of the problem is that the fleets are determining that the TCO and possibly up time is better with those simple old GMs with their parts that that are common and cheap.

    • 0 avatar
      mikeg216

      Well.. There’s literally nothing cheaper to fix than an express.. It’s been in production for two decades and can be bought super cheap… But a transit can carry nearly twice as much as an express or old e series van. If I was ford I’d not be worried.. They’re great vans and I imagine that the average price per sale is much higher than the express.

      • 0 avatar
        thornmark

        The E-450 cutaway accommodates up to 14,500 pounds, while the Transit cutaway accommodates up to 10,360 pounds

        I was at the Hershey RV show and the Transit is distinctly inferior to the GM, Promaster, Mercedes and E Seies vans for rv use – at least presently.

        • 0 avatar
          thornmark

          The Express also appears to carry much more weight than the Transit – about 14,600 lbs and like the E, can tow considerably more weight. The Promaster, w/ front wheel drive has much better packaging than the Transit, but cannot carry as much weight.

  • avatar
    Detroit-X

    On the F150 side of it, handsome trucks sell. Homely, convoluted, or dated trucks don’t, unless perhaps they have a $10k rebate.

  • avatar
    Pig_Iron

    Oh, oh. Truck sales decline is a leading indicator of recession.

  • avatar
    kosmo

    If Ford wants to re-up Transit sales — by one, at least — all they need to do is start offering AWD.

    I’ll be down at the dealer the next day, since a Transit AWD would handily replace two of my current vehicles.

    • 0 avatar
      rentonben

      For about 12K you can add F-series 4×4 bits to your new Transit – search for “Quigley Transit 4×4” – Doesn’t void the warranty but you have now order new (they won’t convert used ones anymore.)

  • avatar
    dukeisduke

    So Ford has a fix for the flex coupling problem? That’s good to know.


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