Monday, July 25, 2011
Taxi Of The Day: July 25, 2011
Today's car of the day is Matchbox's 2010 Ford Transit Connect.
The Ford Transit Connect is a compact panel van developed by Ford Europe and designed by Peter Horbury, introduced in 2002 to replace the older Ford Escort and Fiesta-based Courier van ranges, which had ceased production in the same year.
The Ford Tourneo Connect, a leisure activity vehicle, is a Transit Connect with side windows and rear seats. All North American Transit Connects destined for the USA are imported as passenger vehicles to circumvent the 25% "Chicken Tax" on imported light trucks.
The Transit Connect employs the front-wheel drive Ford C170 platform of the original international Ford Focus—the same platform currently used with the North American Ford Focus. Other than the name, it shares few components with the Transit. The Connect is manufactured by Otosan in an all new production plant at Gölcük, near Kocaeli, Turkey, and since September 2009 in Romania by Automobile Craiova.
The Ford Transit Connect was awarded "Van of the Year 2004" by Professional Van and Light Truck Magazine. In its first year on the North American market, the Transit Connect was awarded "North American Truck of the Year 2010" at the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS).
For more information and pictures of the real car please visit: Ford Transit Connect
Here's a nice model from Matchbox in a tasteful color scheme. Something that will likely be a thing of the past with Matchbox's new focus on ugly graphics and bright colors. Since Ford will be selling a civilian version here I hope we get a plain (non-taxi) version eventually.
Since mid-2009, the Transit Connect has been imported to the United States and Canada. It was first shown in the United States at the 2008 Chicago Auto Show and the 2010 production model was introduced at the following year's show on February 11, 2009. The introduction of the North American variant coincided with a mid-cycle facelift which includes a restyled front grille, a deeper front bumper and a new dashboard featuring the switchgear and instrument pod from the C307 Focus.
Initially, only the long-wheelbase version of the van, outfitted with a 2.0L four-cylinder petrol engine and 4 speed automatic transmission, was offered in North America; elsewhere, the 1.8L diesel engine and 5 speed manual transmission was the only available powertrain. An electric version is to follow about a year after launch, converted by Azure Dynamics Corporation at a U.S. facility.
To build up interest and awareness in North America, Transit Connects specifically equipped as "mobile showrooms" were taken to industrial parks and other appropriate venues in 13 U.S. urban areas in May 2009, with the goal of offering 3,000 test drives to small business owners.
Starting in 2011, Ford will offer a Transit Connect XLT Premium Wagon in the USA and Canada, a more stylish and personal version of the utilitarian van. It will include seating for five, rear windows that pop open for ventalation, BLIS blind spot awareness, rear view camera, larger alloy wheels, body-color grille, and front fog lamps. The Transit Connect Wagon will be the first Ford minivan since the 2007 discontinuation of the Freestar; however, it is closer in size to the standard length Ford Aerostar sold from 1986 to 1997.