Next fall, Ford will add a new passenger van named the Transit Connect Wagon to its North American lineup, which it revealed here on Tuesday, following its European debut as the Tourneo Connect during a special event in Amsterdam this past September.
There are a few basic reasons why the Blue Oval reached this decision, the first being that there's not a lot of room for additional production at the company's North American factories.
"There's minimal room here even though they could squeeze it in if they needed to," Joe Langley, an automotive forecaster at Troy-based LMC Automotive, told the Detroit News. "The volume doesn't warrant retooling here, too, especially with the capacity constraints."
According to the Detroit daily, Ford's vice president of North American manufacturing told reporters last week that the automaker is currently operating at "114 percent capacity" in its home market.
At the same time, like many other carmakers across the pond, Ford's European factories are functioning well under capacity at around 50 percent of output.
As a result, Ford made the decision to utilize its Valencia plant to build the North American market Transit Connect Wagon. Back in 2007, the facility in Spain ran at more than 100 percent producing around 400,000 vehicles, but now, it's working only at about 50 percent capacity.
Ford hasn't divulged any volume projections yet, but Langley told the newspaper that together with the Transit Connect commercial van, the company should sell around 40,000 units of both (related) models in their first full year in the market.