Ford readies anti-minivan for the under-30 set
A people-mover version of Ford's Transit Connect commercial van will be smaller, more fuel efficient and less expensive than the minivans sold by rivals Toyota Motor Corp and Honda Motor Co, Ford executives said on Tuesday.
Additionally, its design -- with a high roof and squared-off rear -- will not trigger the soccer mom stigma that dogs traditional minivans, particularly among the under-30 set who are beginning to start families, Ford said.
Many of them grew up in the back of a minivan, Ford's head of global engineering Hau Thai-Tang said at a media event.
Historically, different cohort groups tend to reject what they're familiar with, Thai-Tang added. We think that's another reason a product like this would be appealing to them.
Ford has been selling the Transit Connect since 2009 as a commercial vehicle with about 35,000 in sales a year. A people-mover version will debut later this month at the Los Angeles Auto Show and will go on sale by the end of next year. The van will be built in Valencia, Spain.
U.S. minivan sales peaked in 2000 at just over 1.3 million and today's sales are about half that. Ford stopped production of its Freestar minivan in 2007, turning its focus to crossovers such as the Flex and the Edge and sport-utility vehicles such as the Escape
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