The first American-made Ford Transit rolled off the line at the Kansas City Assembly Plant today in Claycomo, MO.
Ford has been moving towards a One Ford global design trend in recent years, and the Transit Van is the next step. Ford has built the Transit in the UK for the last 49 years and will be replacing the E-Series van line in the US with it this summer.
Ford has invested $1.1Billion into the KC Assembly Plant. The Billion, as we like to call it, has brought upgrades and retooling to the plant, plus a brand new 437,000 square-foot stamping plant and a 78,000 square foot paint shop to help with production. The paint shop is using new three-wet paint and two-wet monocoat processes, which are more environmentally friendly and require less time without a drop in quality.
The Transit production line itself represents a clean sweep from the old Escape line. Escape production was moved to Kentucky earlier in the year, and that allowed the KC plant to completely redesign and retool for the Transit line. The new line consists of 523 robots, one laser booth, and a streamlined, efficient production process.
To start, there will be one shift producing about 390 Transits a day to start. The entire line is computer controlled and guided, with the computers telling the robots and people exactly which parts go with which new van, allowing Ford to build multiple models, frames, powertrains, and bodies all on the same line with the need for retooling.
Models include the Transit 150, 250, 350, and 350 HD. There will be two wheelbases, three body lengths, and three roof heights. All will be rear wheel drive models with the 3.7L V6 being the standard engine, which is flex fuel capable and can be prepped for CNG as well. There will also an optional 3.5L Twin Turbo V6 EcoBoost engine and an all-new 3.2L I5 Power Stroke Diesel (an engine I’d love to see offered in the F-150). All engines will be paired with a six-speed automatic transmission, and pricing begins at $29,565.
Missouri Governor, Jay Nixon and Ford President of the Americas, Joe Hinrichs drove the first Transit off the line. Hinrichs was quoted, after expounding on the upgrades and new facilities, saying, “This is what a billion dollars will buy you!”
Ford Transit vans will go on sale this summer.