Ford announced at the 2008 Chicago Auto Show that the award-winning Transit Connect light van would be making its way from Europe to North America.
The announcement came after Ford of Europe had doubled its share of the European light- and medium-duty commercial vehicle market following the addition of Transit Connect to the Transit family of vehicles in 2003.
The Transit lineup had built a strong reputation in Europe – Transit Connect in particular was named International Van of the Year when it first launched in 2003 – and Ford had built more than five million of the vans by the time the decision was made to export the Transit Connect to the U.S.
Engineered and built in Europe, Transit Connect featured more load capacity and better fuel economy – it had an EPA-estimated 22 mpg city and 25 highway – than other commercial offerings available in the U.S. at the time.
It also filled a void in the U.S. market, where Ford already controlled 40 percent of the commercial vehicle segment.
“This workhorse is like nothing available today in the American marketplace,” said Derrick Kuzak, then-group vice president of global product development.
Aimed at small business owners, the Transit Connect launched in North America in mid-2009 for the 2010 model year.