Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Econoline or Transit, what should the future bring?

Ford Econoline E-350. I've never been a real fan of vans. I prefer pickups, but Vans are every contractor's required vehicle. Since Dodge dropped the Ram Van series a few years ago and brought over the Sprinter (see below) and GM gave their full size van a makeover a few years ago, the Econoline is looking a little aged. I wonder would it be to Ford's advantage to bring their Transit series of commercial vans to the US? With their diesel engines and newer design, wouldn't one of the most popular commercial vehicles in the world fit in here? I'm not sure if it should replace the Econoline or be sold along side, but I'm seeing a lot of new Sprinters here in suburban NY. Con Edison uses them and Verizon and others won't be far behind. Just a thought, let me know what you think.


Anonymous said...

They looked into it. It was deemed too expensive to change Transit to fit US emissions and crash regs, so they decided to keep the Econoline. There will be a major redesign in the next few years.

TommyO said...

Just got back from Ireland and these Transits are all over. As an owner of a Ford F-250 SD diesel, I don't think that they are up to the punishment and work load that the current Econoline series is subjected to, regardless of what specs they have or what Dodge has done. Besides, I believe the Econoline is available with a diesel and is a fine work vehicle. Not everything from across the ocean is better than our homegrown Fords.

Anonymous said...

I love Ford , but the daimler chrysler tall van is a great vehicle. the sprinter is much nicer if you have to get in and out alot with packages. I used to drive the high ( boat top ) comercial Ford van. great to drive but all the up down was murder on the back.

Big Ford Fan said...

Well I'm happy to hit on a topic that got so much response. Like I said, I'm not a van person. Anonymous-1 sounds like an authority on the subject and I guess if Ford looked at bringing it over and found it too expensive that would settle the matter.

Tommy O, welcome back from your trip, hope you had a great time. I think you make a point about the Transit not being suitable or actually accepted here. But the facts are that the Transit is used world wide and in areas that have very few paved roads, so I'm sure it's tough enough, hey it's a Ford, so it's built "Ford Tough".

There is a documentary called "Ford Transit" that tells the story of Palestinian taxi drivers shuttling people from city to city in Israel's West Bank and how they often have to go on unpaved and broken roads.
Tommy is also correct the Econonline is available with a diesel from the F series truck.

While not everything from across the ocean is better, I was just pondering the question. After all the Transit's smaller diesel is more economical and the price of fuel is going up all the time.

Now Anonymous-2 speaks from experience, stating his preferance for the taller Dodge/Freightliner layout.

My own guess is that Ford should revisit the idea of bringing the Transit to the US for commercial fleet sales or loose ground to the competition.

Anonymous said...

Big Ford Fan. First I would like to say that since I have seen the Transit first hand and not only on websites and magazines, and being the owner of a Ford Super Duty diesel pickup that I regularly put to hard work, I am convinced that the Transit is not suited for the US market. The loads that these vehicles were routinely called upon to carry in Ireland are substantially lighter than what I regularly have seen the Econolines in the New York area carry on a regular basis. Bigger loads are quickly turned over to larger trucks. Period. Secondly, you mention the smaller diesel, well I would like to point out that the vehicles that I saw that had that motor were severely underpowered and unable to keep pace on considerably slower roads than the US has. That is an important factor to remember. The M1 was the only road I travelled on for the 2,000 kms. I drove that had a speed limit of 120 kmh (about 62mph). Also, the cost of diesel has risen over .65 a gallon since last summer when I got my truck. That plus the normal premium over a gas engine in the same line would considerably hamper the financial benefit of the diesel. Lastly, a story about a Pakistani taxi driver in the middle east is not enough of a convincing factor to me that would lead me to believe that the Transit has the ability to be adapted to the toughest market in the world, the US. The facts are, not everything from abroad is better or even a viable alternative to the models on sale here. Life on the internet and blogs are great for dreaming and fantasizing, but in the real world of trucks and vans, only a real contender works. Let the transit stay where it is, update the Econoline to top of the class status and be proud of an American work horse.

Big Ford Fan said...

Well with this last comment I guess the situation is clear, the Transit may not be suitable to the US. And the Econoline is favored. So I hope that Ford does some freshening of this staple of contractors across the nation. But then again, I get the feeling that as long as it is Ford Tough and comfortable, most don't care what it looks like.