Ford to begin the production of Transit commercial van in Kansas in 2013

Article by Christian Andrei, on October 24, 2011

Ford Motor Co.’s Kansas City assembly plant in Claycomo, Mo., will soon start production of the Transit commercial van. This plant will also be adding another shift for the Ford F-150 pickup and is preparing to begin a new stamping operation. Ford also said that its investment for the plant will amount to $1.1 billion – about $700 million higher than what had been announced.

Ford revealed that starting in 2013, the production of the Transit commercial van will be in Kansas City. This is stipulated in Ford’s new four-year labor contract with the UAW. Assembly and sales of the Transit are now located outside of North America.

In addition, Ford said that the expanded investment is due to additional plans to build a body shop as well as for the tooling in the final assembly area, an improved paint shop and an integrated stamping plant beside the current plant. This April, production of the Ford Escape will end. Improvements in the Kansas City plant will begin soon after.

Transit body panels and several of its other components will be produced in the integrated stamping facility. Ford’s plant in Avon Lake, Ohio, assembles the E series, its current commercial van. Ford said that even as Transit output will begin, certain E-series body styles will still be offered. As part of its new contract, the Avon Lake plant will take over production of Ford F-650 and F-750 medium trucks from a plant in Escobedo, Mexico.

The Avon Lake plant will be receiving $128 million worth of upgrades for this purpose. The Chronicle Telegram in Elyria, Ohio, said that this will be done as soon as Ford halts production of the E-series vans in the plant, probably in 2014.

Ford has unveiled the all-new Ford Transit Custom at the Birmingham CV Show, showing off a one-ton commercial vehicle gifted with new levels of style, functionality and driver appeal. As part of a new generation of Ford one-ton commercial vehicles, the new Ford Transit Custom is a further evolution of Ford’s commitment to refresh its entire CV line-up by 2014.

As designed and developed to further increase the carmaker’s segment share, the new Ford Transit Custom is targeted towards a broad range of professionals and skilled tradesmen as well as small businesses. It still features the toughness and value typical of the Transit, and now leads in its class in terms of load-carrying ability, durability and fuel economy.

Moreover, the new Ford Transit Custom boasts of a cost-of-ownership that should appeal to its target customers. Jesus Alonso, director CV Marketing, Sales and Service at Ford of Europe, called Transit Custom as a new kind of one-ton vehicle that is not only stylish and modern, but is still as hard working as the iconic Transit. He added that the introduction of the Ford Transit Custom marks the start of transformation of the carmaker’s global commercial vehicle range.

He noted that Ford will soon unveil new models in the next few months, making 2012 an exciting year for the carmaker’s commercial vehicle business. The new Ford Transit Custom will be available in van, kombi, and double-cab-in-van models late in 2012 in Europe and in other global markets. Ford, however, is not planning to sell the new Transit Custom in North America.

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