We've seen it for more than a year and have a basic idea of the specs and configuration of it, but the official launch of the 2015 Ford Transit van draws even closer with the official start of production today at Ford's Kansas City Assembly plant. Ford has made a cumulative investment of $1.1 billion and hired 2,000 additional employees to handle production of the Transit, as well as the forthcoming 2015 Ford F-150. The Kansas City plant currently builds regular cab, Super Cab, and Super Crew versions of the 2014 F-150.

The Transit is a radical change from its predecessor E-Series vans, replacing its one V-10 and two V-8 engines with two V-6s and a turbodiesel I-5. But just because the engines are downsized doesn't mean capability is downsized. Thanks to its class-leading 81.5 inches of interior height, the new Transit has 75 percent more cargo volume than the largest E-Series, with a stout 4,650-pound payload and 7,600-pound towing capacity.

The Transit will be offered in van, wagon (passenger), chassis cab, and cutaway configurations, on two wheelbases with three available roof heights. The Transit will be initially offered in XL and XLT trims. The E-Series cutaway and stripped chassis will still be available over the next five years.

Source: Ford