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2014 Sprinter Coming This Fall

Daimler revamps the multi-use commercial van.

by on May.07, 2013

Daimler hopes to expand its share of the commercial van market with the 2014 Sprinter this fall.

Daimler AG is aiming to cash in on latest shift in the rapidly changing market for commercial van-style vehicles in the United States.

When the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter first went on sale in 2001, its silhouette was somewhat unusual, noted Claus Tritt, general manager of commercial vehicles in the United States, during a briefing for reporters at the Mercedes-Benz Technical Center in Ann Arbor, Mich.

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“We are no longer the exception. We are the benchmark,” Tritt said, adding that other vehicle manufacturers including Ford Motor Co., Chrysler/Fiat and Nissan are now bringing tall, narrow commercial vehicles to the U.S.

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Spy Shots: Ford Galaxy Van

Coming to America?

by on Jan.02, 2013

Car Spy Jim Dunne nabbed this image of a Ford Galaxy minivan testing in Detroit.

Ford is developing a new design and probably engine installation for the next version of its European Galaxy van – or so one would conclude from these shots of a prototype under test at Ford’s home base in Dearborn.

The unanswered question is whether a U.S. version of the Galaxy might be in the works.  The maker has been out of the American minivan market since abandoning the largely unnoticed Ford Freestar in 2007. It has since tried to find alternative paths to potential minivan buyers with “people-movers” like the big Ford Flex, the smaller C-Max and an assortment of crossovers.

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One look tells the story of the prototype Galaxy’s front end. Despite the heavy camo, it carries an all-new appearance, with a strong block-shape grille opening in place of the current oval. The higher hood line may have two purposes – house a taller, turbocharged (or V6 ?) engine, and change the Galaxy’s appearance to that of a small SUV from the minivan shape it now displays. Those front-hinged rear doors clearly identify – to American shoppers – this vehicle as a small SUV.

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Transit Connect Aimed at Keeping Ford Tops in Truck Market

Replacing an old workhorse.

by on Dec.17, 2012

The 2014 Ford Transit will replace the maker's aging commercial workhorse, the old Econoline.

Contrary to what Wall Street believes fleet and commercials customers represent a vital and profitable part of the automotive business and Ford Motor Co. plans to use its “One Ford” strategy to nail down more of that business in the U.S. and abroad.

The maker has formally unveiled the all-new U.S. version of its Transit and Transit Connect vans – and with the exception of a “Wagon” version of the smaller model, the target market will be fleets and individual commercial buyers, such as contractors, florists, plumbers and caterers.

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Joe Hinrichs, Ford’s new president of the Americas, said the all-new 2014 Ford Transit full-size van will be the critical replacement of the maker’s durable Econoline van, also known as the E-Series, which was last redesigned in 1992.

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Ford Latest to Jump on Diesel Bandwagon

Maker will add 3.2-liter I-5 for new Transit van.

by on Dec.11, 2012

Ford's new Transit van will be offered with the maker's new Power Stroke I-5 diesel.

Ford Motor Co. has done something of an about-face on diesel power, the maker deciding to introduce a 3.2-liter “oil-burner” for the new Transit van it will launch in the U.S. market next year.

It will mark the first time Ford has offered a diesel in a van for the American market since phasing out its Power Stroke V8 in 2010. And with the announcement Ford becomes the latest in a still-small but fast-growing list of manufacturers hoping to boost mileage – and build demand – with high-mileage diesels.  Mazda last month confirmed long-expected plans to offer a diesel in its new Mazda6 sedan.

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Ford has long waivered on making a commitment to diesel, new Chief Operating Officer Mark Fields only last month saying there were no plans to offer the technology in its U.S. passenger car line-up. Instead, Ford has been focusing on its distinctive EcoBoost engines and an expanding line-up of battery-based powertrains.  But it appears the maker saw an opening – and growing demand – in the commercial sector for diesel power.

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Ford Planning Diesel for New Transit Van

Maker also putting emphasis on CNG and LPG.

by on Mar.28, 2012

Already popular in many parts of the world, the Ford Transit van will arrive in the U.S. in 2014.

Ford Motor Co. says it expected to boost the fuel economy of its large work vans by 25% when it migrates to an all-new design next year.  A key reason for what is a spectacular increase in a traditional staid segment is Ford’s decision to go with several alternative powertrain packages.

The European-designed Transit van will be offered with both a turbocharged EcoBoost powertrain, Ford officials say, but will also be available with a new high-mileage diesel option. That, plus other efficiencies designed into the all-new Ford Transit should yield an average mpg number about a quarter higher than the old Econoline model, also known as the E-Series.

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The Transit is the latest step in the maker’s migration to its so-called One Ford strategy.  The goal is to hold down costs – and deliver more content to consumers – by sharing product designs on a global basis.  In the past, the E-Series was offered in North America and a few other select markets, while Europe and most of the rest of the world shared the previous version of the Transit.

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First Look: Ford Tourneo Custom Concept

Geneva preview to hint at E-Van replacement.

by on Feb.22, 2012

Ford will unveil the new Tourneo Custom Concept van in Geneva. A heavier-duty version, the Transit, will migrate to the U.S. market in 2013.

As part of its One Ford strategy, Ford Motor Co. is rapidly shifting from regional product development to a line-up of global products like the new Fiesta, Focus and Fusion models.  The maker will take the next step forward when it unleashes the Ford Tourneo Custom Concept at the upcoming Geneva Motor Show.

The Tourneo Concept is a thinly-disguised prototype for the next-generation Ford Transit van.  That’s not to be confused with the smaller Transit Connect which the maker introduced in the U.S. market two years ago.  The bigger Transit will soon replace the long-lived Ford E-Van that has become the staple for plumbers, delivery services, shuttle bus operators and just about anyone else who has to haul people and equipment.

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Decidedly more modern than the aging E-Van, the Tourneo Concept is a one-ton light-duty passenger van.  It adopts a commercial version of the so-called Kinetic Design styling language that struck a responsive chord when used to reshape the 2013 Ford Fusion sedan.

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Ford Planning EV Version of Transit Connect

Electric-powered van one of four new battery vehicles coming.

by on Feb.09, 2009

Ford's urban Transit Connect van

Ford's urban Transit Connect van

Ford Motor Co. will charge into the Chicago Auto Show, this week, with the production version of its new Transit Connect commercial van. That includes a battery-powered version set to debut in 2010.

Based on a popular, downsized van now sold in Europe, Ford is betting it can expand its appeal to the urban business market with Transit Connect, which will go on sale in the U.S., mid-year. Equipped with a 2.0-liter inline-four-cylinder engine, which Ford expects to get “at least” 20 mpg City, 24 Highway, a base model will go for $21,475. No price has yet been set on the EV version.

If the five different models rolling onto the floor at Chicago’s McCormick Place are any indication, however, buyers will be picking and choosing from an extensive array of options, including interior shelving, rear doors and more.

“You may think we’re getting carried away with customization,” says Derrick Kuzak, head of global product development, at Ford, “but that’s exactly the point – to be able to match the needs of a business or fleet owner.”

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