While most automakers are taking a step back from large vehicles, Ford, at least, is taking a brand new look at vehicles that once were the hottest selling thing since the “Pet Rock”: the mini van.
It’s been six full years since Ford stepped away from the mini van market, but someone there must think there’s no time like the present to revisit a once great idea. And maybe they’re right. As the one of the 3 major U.S. automakers which didn’t require any federal bailout money, Ford has shown it is possessed with wisdom. They were also the first u.S. automaker to move away from larger, gas guzzling trucks and cars and re-focus their efforts on smaller and mid-sized automobiles for the more fuel efficiency minded consumer market.
That’s why some in the industry expect the new Ford Transit Connect Wagon to do better than conventional wisdom might expect it to. The new Transit Connect wagon seats seven and has the classic sliding side door that is emblematic of mini-vans every where, but it is also shorter with a higher roof line. Perhaps the only two points of interest for consumers are the fact that Ford claims the new Transit Connect wagon will do better than 30 miles per gallon and cost just $20,000 (for a base unit.)
With a sticker price much lower than just about any electric or hybrid-electric vehicle, and a lot more room, it looks a sure thing when it comes to the question of whether or not the new Transit Connect Wagon will be a hit with consumers. It costs less, is safe, has heft and gets decent gas mileage-all the things consumers have repeatedly looked for in a vehicle.
Unfortunately, until the vehicle is released onto dealership floors all of this is just conjecture. Even the best ideas have resulted in spectacular failures when it comes to understanding the fickle mind of consumers. Ford might have a few things in its favor, but the proof is in the pudding–or the mini van sales.