Perhaps taking a note from DaimlerChrysler’s playbook, Ford will reportedly be importing a version of the Ford Transit Connect commercial vehicle to be sold in the United States. DaimlerChrysler began selling the Sprinter commercial van in the U.S. around 2004, and has enjoyed success selling it to large corporations that need workhorse fleet vehicles with large, enclosed cargo spaces. The Turkish news website Sabah is reporting that the Transit Connect destined for our shores will be built in Turkey at Ford’s Kocaeli facilities until production of the commercial van begins in the U.S. around 2009.The Transit Connect will likely carve its own niche in the commercial vehicle industry, as it’s smaller and more maneuverable than the Sprinter, while also less costly. We imagine many small- to medium-sized businesses would consider a Transit Connect where a Dodge Sprinter wouldn’t even make their lists due to its size and cost.
Also something to consider is the recent spate of panel versions of vehicles from both General Motors and DaimlerChrysler. The Chevy HHR Panel is going into production and will also likely find buyers in the small- and medium-business market. Dodge, meanwhile, showed a panel concept of the Nitro SUV at SEMA, which, while probably not meant for production, at least shows that DCX is thinking about such things. [Sabah]