Ford has confirmed that its next-generation global commercial van lineup will utilize a single architecture.
In a presentation from the UBS Frankfurt Auto Show Investor Conference in Germany earlier this week, Ford Chief Financial Officer Lewis Booth explained that one of the key elements of Ford’s growth strategy is to improve scale, not just volume. One slide in the presentation outlined platform consolidation efforts, showing the Ford Transit merging with the E-Series, both of which currently utilize different platforms.
For its part, Ford has been consistently tight-lipped about its commercial van strategy, but it has been widely speculated (by us, nonetheless) that the Transit wold replace the E-Series. The latter is exclusive to North America and is now fairly outdated. In his presentation, Booth only referred to “the Transit” when speaking about Ford’s commercial van efforts.
While Booth did not discuss timing in his presentation, it’s important to note that Ford invested a hefty $630 million in 2010 to prepare for next-generation Transit production in Kocaeli, Turkey. The Blue Oval has an agreement with the UAW for the introduction of a new product for its Avon Lake, OH plant in 2014, where the E-Series is currently manufactured.
Last year, the E-Series celebrated its 50th anniversary of sales in the U.S. The line commands a 56.8 percent share of the U.S. commercial van segment, up 11 points since 2001, according to WardsAuto data. The Transit has enjoyed a similar dominance in Europe since its introduction in 1965 but faces increasing competition from vehicles release by the Renault-Daimler and Fiat-RAM-Chrysler partnerships.
Of note is the fact that the Transit Connect, Ford’s compact van offering, is not related to the full-size Transit. The Transit is available in front-wheel drive, rear-wheel drive, and all-wheel drive configurations, a series of common rail diesel engines, three different wheel base lengths, as well as an overabundance of layout, load, and floor arrangements.
The Motrolix Take
Merge, combine, consolidate… call it whatever you want, but this is pretty much a confirmation that the Transit will replace the staid E-Series sooner rather than later.