Seven million units sold worldwide and six generations launched so far— that’s an impressive record for any new entry to any market segment, and the Ford Transit has it all.
At a press and dealer preview last Thursday, Ford Philippines presented the Transit, its entry for the light commercial bus and van (LCBV) segment, as truly work-ready: it was already available in Ford dealerships nationwide beginning that same day.
That is unlike other automakers who introduce a new vehicle in grand fashion, only to reveal later that units will be available next year yet.
The LCBV segment in the Philippines is a growing, still largely uncrowded field. It requires a vehicle to have more than a dozen seats at least, lots of loading space, a strong diesel powertrain, and a sturdy, solid build.
TRANSPO NEEDS. The LCBV segment serves the transportation needs of enterprises like schools, hotels, resorts, travel agencies, hospitals (think ambulances), business support outsourcing (BPO), corporate, and even retailers, providing their customers and crew with mobility support.
Enterprises in this sector need in their commercial vehicles generous size and space, enhanced comfort, optimized load capacity, safety and convenience features, proven performance capability, and long service intervals for maximum productivity and cost efficiency.
The Transit minibus fits the bill, embodying as it does the “Built Ford Tough” tagline of the Dearborn, Michigan-based company whose core business is manufacturing trucks, SUVs and other commercial vehicles. Ford no longer makes passenger cars except for the Mustang, a sports car.
PURPOSE-BUILT. The Transit’s exterior design exudes a strong and commanding road presence with its three-bar grille, multi-reflector halogen headlights with daytime running lamps, front fog lights, 16-inch steel wheels with hubcaps, black bumpers, side moldings, and rear bumper with integrated step.
The spacious 15-seat capacity, stowage bins, 12 cup holders and multiple power sockets and power sidestep were purpose-built to enhance the convenience, and ride experience of passengers and driver alike.
Although the passenger side door is manual-sliding unlike in other markets abroad where the door is power-sliding, the Transit sold locally is configured with an array of useful features that will make the ride pleasant. For instance, the rear cargo doors open up to 180 degrees wide.
The Transit’s generous dimensions—5.981 meters long, 2.474m wide (with side mirrors), 2.517m tall—allow average-size persons to stand up inside the cabin.
PROVEN. Manufactured at the Ford plant in Turkey, the Transit is powered by a 2.2-liter Duratorq TDCI Euro 5 engine with a proven track record as it used to be the engine of Ford Ranger pickup trucks.
Max output is rated at 133 hp3750 rpm and max torque at 385 Nm/1500-2000 rpm. The transmission is a 6-speed rear wheel drive manual.
The suspension system consisting of independent MacPherson struts with coil springs and stabilizer bar in front, leaf springs and gas-pressurized shock absorbers at the rear, ensure a high carrying capacity for passengers or cargo load, maneuverability, and surprisingly enough, a car-like ride.
INTERIOR. The cockpit layout is also more minivan than truck, with audio controls mounted on the tilt-and-telescopic steering wheel, front overhead storage bins, courtesy lights, map lamps, floorwell lights, grab handles beside the front and rear passenger side doors, manual air conditioning with rear climate controls.
Aside from the glove box and front overhead stowage bins, practical convenience is offered by three AUX power point sockets, two in front, one at the rear plus a dozen cup/ bottle holders, six in front, six at the rear, and easy-to-clean non-slip rubber floor covering. AM/FM radio, AUX, USB, Bluetooth with six speakers make up the infotainment system.
Safety and driver aids include an Electronic Stability Program, ABS, 15 three-point seatbelts with headrests for all 15 seats, fading brake support, emergency brake warning, hill start assist, tire pressure sensors, front and rear parking sensors, rear view camera, trip computer, ISOFIX child seat anchors on the second row seat, and perimeter anti-theft alarm.
For additional security in case of an emergency, the Transit is equipped with a rear roof escape hatch, and a pair of emergency hammers to break the windows.
AFTER-SALES VALUE. Ford PH is offering outstanding after-sales value to all customers who buy a Transit (P2.3 million) this year by providing a free 5-year scheduled service maintenance plan. As it stands, the Transit requires only a once-a-year scheduled service interval.
As Ford PH managing director PK Umashankar noted at last week’s launch, “Given its global success in boosting productivity for businesses, …and with the continued growth of the light commercial bus and van segment in the Philippines, …the all-new Transit is poised to help drive productivity and business growth.”
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