Note: The Transit line has nothing to do with the Transit Connect runabout.
I found out today that the old Econoline style van is going the way of the dodo next year. Instead, Ford will be using their Transit line of vans that are common in Europe over here in the US, and will be using similar names (T-250, T-350, T-450, T-550) for them.
Engine-wise, they will be using turbo diesels, as well as an EcoBoost twin-turbo gasser similar to the F-150.
Looks, they have a very similar shape to the Sprinter.
Supposedly, they will have a 4WD/AWD option, which the Sprinter offers in Europe, but not in the US.
Price-wise, since these will be made in a US factory, the "chicken tax" is not an issue.
I wonder how this will change things for class B makers. I know that Ford dealers are a lot more common than Mercedes/Freightliner places, and I'm going to assume that parts for these will be a lot more widely available once this model starts selling.
I hope that this van makes a good class B platform. It supposedly has more usable space than the existing Econolines, has competitive MPG, and has been sold in most of the world for decades.
I THINK that just the chassis cabs are staying in production, and the E-vans as we know them are history. The Transit has exciting possibilities and should give the Sprinter some competition. And will hopefully be more attractive than the Nissan High Roof van.
Ford intends to replace the E-Series by 2014 with a global version of the fourth generation Transit platform developed by Ford of Europe. The Transit has been the E-Series' equivalent in Europe since 1965 and competes with the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter.
It is not known if the North American versions of the Transit will be equipped with turbodiesel power which makes up the vast majority of European sales. In order to introduce American buyers to Ford's Euro-vans, the company began importing the mechanically unrelated Transit Connect range for the 2010 model year.
In 2011, the United Auto Workers confirmed the existence of a North American version of the Transit as the future product plans for the Ford Kansas City Assembly Plant were revealed. In late September 2011, Ford registered trademarks for Ford T-250, T-350, T-450, and T-550; the T-Series name will likely be used both as a continuation of the E-Series and to avoid similarity with the smaller Transit Connect.
The American version of the Transit that will eventually replace the E-series and be produced at Ford's plant in Claycomo, Mo. We say eventually, because Ford plans to sell both for awhile, probably to let buyers get used to the idea that the replacement is far more practical and fuel-efficient.