US: Ford’s Transit takes over the segment from E-Series image

Ford’s latest generation of the Transit commercial van – an iconic nameplate in Europe – has finally made the jump across the ocean this year, taking over the banner from the venerable E-Series line.

And the Transit, a model with definite European appeal, has wasted no time in relieving the old E-Series from the leadership position as the country’s best-selling full-size cargo van, only months after being introduced in the US. Arriving in dealerships back in June, the Transit had 4,800 deliveries in November, outselling the venerable E-Series, the Chevrolet Express and all other rivals for the first time. Ford rides on the flexibility of the platform, being able to see the Transit turned into anything, from food trucks and mobile offices to medical service vehicles and party buses. The Transit, which has the upper hand on engine, style and size choices over the E-Series, has some big shoes to fill – the model was America’s best-selling commercial van for 34 years in a row.

The commercial van segment has been riding the recovery wave as well, with the stable economy, the lower unemployment rate and low gas prices driving up the sales – with companies lifting the full-size van segment by 14% this year (after the 11-month tally), according to industry figures. The segment’s growth comes second to the small utility sector, which jumped 20% and is also driven by the recent new introductions. Ford also premiered the smaller Transit Connect van, Chrysler introduced another European-based model, the Ram ProMaster and Mercedes-Benz continued the Sprinter success story.