Ford Transit Connect Going Away Because America Won’t Buy Small Vans: Report
The little work van will reportedly disappear from U.S. dealers at the end of 2023.
The Ford Transit Connect occupies a small niche in the United States, offering consumers the volume of a cargo van without the typical body-on-frame architecture of one. According to Automotive News, however, that niche is about to get smaller at the end of 2023, when Ford plans to discontinue the Transit Connect in the States.
The current Transit Connect is imported from Spain as a passenger van; cargo vans are stripped of seats stateside to avoid paying the 25 percent chicken tax. While the current-generation Transit Connect was marked for discontinuation in 2023, it was believed that Ford was tooling up one of its plants in Mexico to continue building the next-generation model. That future van, reportedly codenamed the V758, was supposedly intended to share a platform with the Maverick and Bronco Sport. Instead, in the face of declining sales in an overall poor small-van market, Ford has decided to axe the Transit Connect entirely for the U.S., although sales will continue in Europe.
This could nearly spell the end of the small commercial van segment in the U.S., in which the Transit Connect was by far the reigning best-seller, with over 30 percent market share as of Q2 2022. Unfortunately, demand overall has remained weak, with commercial van deliveries dropping 21 percent in the first two quarters of this year. Small vans have borne the brunt of reduced demand, with Transit Connect sales themselves down 17 percent in 2021 despite its market-leader position.
As a result, manufacturers are dropping vans left and right. Nissan has already discontinued the NV200 in 2020 (and GM canned its badge-engineered version of the NV200, the Chevy City Express, in 2018) and Mercedes announced just two weeks ago it's killing the Metris. All that will be left for American small-van shoppers come 2024 is the Ram Promaster City. I have a pretty well-established love of vans, so it's hard to look at this with anything other than sadness, I'll admit.