The introduction of the 2015 Ford Transit to the U.S. market marks a major shift in the company's North American fullsize van strategy, replacing the long-running E-Series, which will continue to be built in cab-chassis configuration at the Avon Lake, Ohio, plant. Along with the clean-sheet design approach of the Transit compared to the Econoline, Ford took the opportunity to re-think some of the production processes and methods. The painting process for the 2015 Transit is getting a major overhaul at the Kansas City Assembly plant, cutting time, steps, and the environmental impact of painting.
The new "two-wet" monocoat process will initially be rolled out on white Transits due to the overwhelming volume of that color among van buyers -- as high as 80 percent. Of course, durability takes top billing in a commercial vehicle application, and Ford claims the new process will retain 90 percent of its gloss over four years, compared to just one percent with conventional paint processes. The new process also cuts the number of paint applications from three to two and eliminates the need for a separate clear-coat application.
Another innovation is a streamlined dip or "E-coat" process, with the van bodies remaining on the carrier, as opposed to the conventional process in which the bodies are removed from the carrier, put on chains, and then put back on the carrier. A steeper angle enabled by the carriers allows for a shorter dip tank than for even the subcompact Fiesta.
Non-white Transit models will still be painted with a more conventional "three-wet" process, although adoption of the two-wet process may be rolled out for additional colors depending on demand. You can see a video of the new paint process below.