Admit it. You'd rather make a delivery in the Euro-chic Transit Connect over that paltry Econoline.
Ford has sold more than 600,000 Transit Connects across Europe, where skinny high-top vans work wonders on the continent's narrow city streets. Thanks to the Dodge/Mercedes-Benz Sprinter, Americans are somewhat used to this style, but breaking the mold of the US commercial market is like trying to convince R.V. owners to buy minivans. It'll be tough at first, but Ford has finally recognized that its smaller, sleeker, and more fuel-efficient overseas models are an easy way to start making money again. (The Euro-spec Focus and Fiesta subcompact are coming in 2010.)
The Transit, shown in New York last year as a taxi concept, will debut at the Chicago auto show tomorrow and arrive at dealerships this summer. Ford claims 20 miles per gallon in the city, which should be a big improvement over the heavy-duty Econoline, which is exempt from EPA reporting. An electric version with a claimed 100-mile range will go on sale next year.
Two handy options: Tool Link, co-developed with DeWalt and ThingMagic of Cambridge, tracks cargo and tools with radio frequency identification tags, and an on-board computer allows Internet access, printing, and even remote access to an office PC.
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