– Ford Motor Company today announced production of the seven millionth Transit, the popular commercial van launched in 1965
in Europe and now being extended to 118 markets across six continents.
Lined up end to end, the seven million Transits would stretch from London to Sydney, Australia, and back again.
The milestone was celebrated at the official opening today of a new Transit assembly plant in Nanchang, China, attended by Ford President and CEO Alan Mulally.
The Jiangling Xiaolan facility is the result of a (U.S.) $300 million investment by Ford’s strategic partner Jiangling Motors Corp (JMC) and produces JMC-branded vehicles and Ford-branded vehicles for the growing Chinese market.
“The Ford Transit plays a significant role in the lives and jobs of millions of people,” Mulally said. “From getting workers to a building site, to delivering important packages, or even rushing a patient to the hospital, people all over the world rely on Ford Transits to get the job done.”
Launched in the same year that the first person walked in space, the Transit made an immediate impact, providing practical support to the booming economies of Europe. Since then, Ford has developed a vast range of bodystyles and variants: from the parcel van, through tipper trucks and campers, to outrageous one-offs, including the Cosworth V8-powered Supervans.
The all-new 2-tonne Transit scheduled for European launch in spring 2014 will sit atop a redesigned and expanded range of models for Europe that also includes the Transit Custom, Transit Connect and Transit
Production of the Transit has accelerated so that after passing the first million sales milestones in 1976, it passed the next ones in 1985, 1994, 2000, 2005 and 2010.
The Transit also has introduced a list of technology innovations for commercial vehicles to help improve performance, comfort and safety, from features like side loading doors, halogen headlights and radial ply tyres, to direct injection diesel engines, high security locks and standard anti-lock brakes.
“The Ford Transit continues to innovate, helping customers carry more goods, reduce their running costs and arrive reliably and safely at their destination,” Mulally said.
Transit production first expanded beyond Europe in 1997 with new facilities in Nanchang, China, and Hai Duong, Vietnam. The new Jiangling Xiaolan plant more than doubles JMC’s annual commercial vehicle production capacity to 545,000 units from 245,000 units. JMC, which builds the Ford Transit for the Chinese market, is 30 per cent owned by Ford.
The global expansion of Transit production and sales takes a further significant step in mid-2014 as the all-new Transit enters North America for the first time. The North American Transit will be built in Kansas City, Mo.
In total, Ford expects to sell more than 400,000 1-tonne and 2-tonne Transits each year by 2016, the equivalent of selling one vehicle every 80 seconds.
The all-new 2-tonne Ford Transit is scheduled for launch in spring 2014 to bring a new level of capability and versatility to the medium commercial van market, with a comprehensive range of body styles and derivatives delivering class-leading load-carrying ability and cost-of-ownership, with exceptional durability.
In Europe, the 2-tonne Transit and 1-tonne Transit Custom vehicles head up a transformed and extended range of four all-new Transit models on sale by mid-2014. This includes the all-new Transit Connect offering payloads of 550-1000 kilograms, and the compact all-new Transit Courier with maximum payload of 660 kilograms.
"The Ford Transit has a superb heritage and an even brighter future,” Mulally said. “As we pass this incredible seven million milestone, we look forward to helping even more customers get their businesses moving forward with a Transit.”