Ford has notched up yet another victory at the International Van of the Year Awards. Asian Trader reports from Russia.

 

The all-new Ford Transit Connect has been named “International Van of the Year 2014” at the prestigious COMTRANS commercial vehicle exhibition in Moscow.

 

This means Ford has become the first manufacturer to win the coveted award for two consecutive years.

 

Ford also registered a record-equalling fifth “International Van of the Year” victory after the jury of 24 European specialist journalists awarded the Transit Connect 130 points from a maximum possible 163 to put it ahead of the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter (123) and Renault Kangoo (25).

 

The award for the brand new Transit Connect follows previous successes for the Transit (2001), Transit Connect (2003), Transit (2007) and Transit Custom (2013).

 

Pieter Wieman, chairman of the “International Van of the Year” jury, told Asian Trader that the Connect impressed the jury on a number of fronts, and above all by the fact Ford has succeeded in building a “light van with a strong accent on economics.”

 

He added: “The vehicle is a good answer to the needs of small operators as well as big fleets to reduce the cost of transport of goods.”

Other features that impressed judges included the fact that the loading space offered a number of innovations, including a load-through hatch in the bulkhead, fold-up front passenger seat and a sliding side door in the long-wheelbase model which enables a Europallet to be loaded.

They also noted how the model paid a lot of attention to durability and safety, with Ford subjecting the van to commercial vehicle testing and durability standards, and being first in its class to offer features like Active City Stop.

 

The “International Van of the Year” award adds to Ford’s already impressive performance over the last two years. The Ford Ranger won the “International Pickup Award 2013”, and Ford’s 1.0-litre EcoBoost petrol engine was named “International Engine of the Year” in 2012 and 2013.

Ford says the Transit Connect offers van operators class-leading fuel economy, load carrying ability and durability, with the Econetic model delivering 70.6 mpg and CO2 emissions of 105g/km – a 34 per cent improvement versus the current model.

The highly fuel-efficient 1.0-litre EcoBoost petrol engine also offers class-leading petrol economy.

Barb Samardzich, vice president of Product Development, Ford of Europe, told Asian Trader: “The all-new Transit Connect has moved the game on for compact vans – and we are really proud to win this significant award again.

“The new Transit Connect is just as tough and hard-working as all our commercial vehicle range, and comes with smart new looks and much lower fuel bills.”

Stephen Lesh, Transit Connect chief program engineer, added. “Our teams across Europe are justifiably over the moon with this great news.

“The team has worked tirelessly to deliver the perfect vehicle for our hard-working customers, and this is a wonderful day for all those responsible for the Transit Connect across Europe.”

Available in Van, Double-Cab-in-Van and Kombi bodystyles, the Transit Connect also offers a spacious and practical load area with total volumes of 2.9m3 and 3.6m3 with a full bulkhead; maximum payloads of up to 1,000kg match the best in class figure.

 

The all-new Transit Connect is now available to order for delivery in late 2013.

 

 

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