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THE Van of the Year jury, which comprises an independent panel of leading commercial vehicle journalists representing 19 European countries, awarded the new Ford Transit the 2007 trophy in what was described as “one of the closest fought battles ever.”
“This year has been a bumper for new light and medium commercial vehicles which has made this competition tougher than ever, and this award even more significant for Ford Transit,” said John Fleming, President and CEO, Ford of Europe.
“We’re delighted to follow up the success of the 2001 Transit and the 2003 Transit Connect in winning Van of the Year trophies, and it is an appropriate reward and recognition for the dedication of so many Ford of Europe employees who contribute to the Transit story.”
In its official statement, the jury said: “In announcing the decision, the jury was particularly impressed by the fact that Ford’s engineers have taken one of Europe’s best vans and made it even better. Whether in city traffic or on motorways, the driveability of Transit is excellent.”
The statement added: “The jury also appreciates the fact that the Ford designers and engineers maintain more than most other van manufacturers, permanent contacts with potential and existing purchasers in order to monitor constantly their wishes and needs.”
This resulted in the fact that in the new Transit the cab interior has been brought up to a level approaching that of a car. The philosophy is that van-drivers often spend more hours in their vehicles than car drivers.
“Constant monitoring of the wishes of van users also resulted in some other interesting improvements,” noted the statement. “The dash mounted gear lever is an example of that, as is the self charging waterproof ignition key. Other examples are the addition of a new low-roof medium wheelbase variant and a new heavy duty front axle model.”
The jury also appreciated the development of the new All-Wheel-Drive Transit derivative, plus the confirmation that Ford’s load-adaptive Electronic Stability Programme (ESP) will be standardised on all diesel Transit van, bus and kombi models from January, 2007, with chassis cab and dual-rear-wheel models following later in 2007.
“The International Van of the Year jury is worried about the high and, in some European countries, still increasing number of accidents with vans. By offering ESP as standard, Ford makes an important contribution to traffic safety in the European Union,” the jury said.
The latest Ford Transit model opens a new chapter in an impressive story for the iconic model and with more than five million built over the last forty years, Ford of Europe’s Commercial Vehicle development team was determined to make the new model the best Transit ever.
As a result, the new Ford Transit has been revised.
Ford was also conscious that the van user should not be denied any of the comforts or features normally found in passenger cars.
Therefore, many of the improvements have centred on improving equipment levels, ergonomics and convenience, as well as steering and handling.