When it debuted in 2009, the Ford Transit Connect was a unique vehicle for the North American market. It was the first compact cargo van to be offered, and despite its dated design based on an eight-year-old European model, it quickly caught on with customers. For 2014, the U.S. got an all-new model that was better looking, more fuel efficient, and offered more configurations and options than ever before. It also signaled the return of a true minivan to Ford’s lineup since the discontinuation of the Freestar. Combined sales of the new Transit Connect Cargo and Wagon (passenger) versions are up 27 in the third quarter of 2014 compared to last year.
Much of the success is attributable to the larger number of configurations available on the new model, including short- and long-wheelbase models, five- and seven-passenger Wagon models, and the availability of two different engines. The outgoing model had just one available size and powertrain option.
Ford’s Jedi mind trick marketing campaign of calling the Transit Connect Wagon the “unminivan” seems to be working on American consumers, who abandoned the segment in droves once SUVs and crossovers started gaining in popularity. However, minivans (or whatever you want to call them) offer advantages in interior volume and practicality over SUVs.