The Transit Connect may not be long for this market.
Ford is making big waves with its all-electric E-Transit van, but not everyone requires such a large vehicle to transport people or stuff. That's why the Ford Transit Connect makes so much sense; it's a compact van, available in both passenger wagon and cargo versions while starting at under $30,000.
Ford currently imports the Transit Connect from Spain but reportedly planned to move production of the next-generation model to Mexico alongside the Bronco Sport and Maverick.
According to Automotive News, these plans have since been canceled, and Ford will discontinue the Transit Connect in the US after 2023. CarBuzz reached out to a Ford Pro North America spokesperson who said, "we do not comment on speculation."
The next-generation Transit Connect (code-named V758) would have used the same Ford C2 platform as the aforementioned Bronco Sport crossover and Maverick unibody pickup. It also underpins the Escape and several European models. Though the van will no longer be offered in the US market, Ford will continue selling it in Europe, where vans remain the preferred method of moving cargo.
Small van sales have declined in the US, but Ford still led the segment with 26,112 units sold in 2021. To put that in perspective, Ford sold 99,745 units of the more extensive Transit, available in Passenger, Crew, and Cargo variants, over the same period.
Mercedes has also struggled in this market, selling only 9,898 units of its Metris in 2021, most of which went to the US government to be used as postal vans. Due to sluggish sales, Mercedes announced it would stop selling its small van in the US market. It now appears that Ford will follow suit.
Other automakers have already backed out of this market. General Motors killed off its Chevrolet City Express, which was just a rebadged Nissan NV200, in 2018. The NV200 itself is no longer available either. With all of these competitors out of the way, that leaves the Ram ProMaster City, which sold 14,579 units last year.
Ford will likely lean into its full-size Transit and hopefully convince its fleet customers to consider going electric.
GM will eventually replace its aging full-size vans with all-electric models, and startup company Canoo is working on a fun lifestyle electric van, and startup company Canoo is working on a fun lifestyle electric van geared more toward private owners rather than fleet customers. Even though Canoo planned it as a lifestyle vehicle, Walmart saw enough potential in the funky Lifestyle Vehicle to 4,500 models to its last-mile delivery fleet.
While we would have loved to see an all-electric Transit Connect, it seems like everything in America is doomed to keep getting bigger, including vans. If you plan to order a Transit Connect for your business, you better do so before 2023 is over.