DETROIT -- Ford Motor Co. wants to position the third-generation Transit Connect Wagon as a less expensive, more capable minivan alternative to help expand its share in the commercial vehicle market and improve Canadian sales after a drop in 2017.
The seven-seat wagon variant of the segment-leading Transit Connect, introduced Thursday ahead of the Chicago Auto Show, comes with a new front end, new powertrain and a host of new driver-assist features. It's scheduled to go on sale this fall and will be equipped with Ford's new 1.5-litre EcoBlue diesel engine that's expected to use 12.75 litres of fuel per 100 kilometres (30 mpg).
Ford will be targeting active baby boomers who might not be able to afford a traditional minivan or large crossover.
"It's an entry-level product that brings customers into the fold for the first time," said John Ruppert, Ford's commercial vehicle sales and marketing manager. "Small vans have turned into a really big business for us."
Ford introduced the Transit Connect to Canada and U.S. in the 2010 model year and last redesigned it in 2014. In 2017, Ford sold 2,651 Transit Connects in Canada, down 5.3 per cent from the year before. In the United States, Ford sold 34,473 Transit Connects, nearly double the sales of the second-place Nissan NV200 there.