Ford’s New Transit Connect Wagon to Be Built in Spain image

Ford’s new Transit Connect Wagon will reach US showrooms late 2013, but the model won’t be manufactured in North America.

Ford chose to produce the Transit Connect Wagon in Valencia, Spain, which will help the automaker solve two problems: the excess capacity in Europe and the lack of manufacturing capacity in North America. In North America Ford’s plants are already working at 114% capacity, but in Europe capacity is just at 50%, no matter how hard the automaker tried to match production with demand.

“There’s minimal room here even though they could squeeze it in if they needed to,” said Joe Langley, an automotive forecaster at Troy-based LMC Automotive. “The volume doesn’t warrant retooling here, too, especially with the capacity constraints.”

Ford has already announced it will close three plants in Europe by the end of 2014, slashing about 18% of its capacity here. Five years ago the plant in Valencia ran at over 100%, but last year it worked at little above 50%. Ford expects its Transit Connect Wagon to sell 40,000 units during its first full year of sales.

The automaker said that the model will come with two powertrain options, among which a 1.6-liter EcoBoost engine, panoramic roof and three trim levels. Currently, Ford builds the Transit Connect commercial vans at Kocaeli plant, in Turkey.