The Ford Transit was America’s best-selling van in March 2016 and the first-quarter associated with 2016, full stop.
Not just the best-selling full-size commercial van. Not only the best-selling commercial van overall. The Ford Transit was America’s best-selling van, besting all of its direct rivals in addition to each and every minivan.
Much has been made from the all-American Ford Mustang’s one-month stand in Indonesia. Even if the Mustang’s “Best-Selling Sports Car Within Germany” status is only briefly grasped, it it was a noteworthy change of events. At the same time, Ford of Europe’s long-running commercial van, now Americanized, is dominating on our side of the Atlantic.
Ford accomplished this particular feat on the power of the Transit’s ever-increasing volume, not really because of particularly poor minivan sales. Year-over-year, U.Utes. sales of seven people carriers (City & Country, Grand Caravan, Journey, Sedona, Mazda5, Quest, Sienna) jumped 30 % to 143,482 units within the first-quarter of 2016. Compared with the actual first-quarter of 2014, sales are up 14 percent. Compared with the first-quarter of The year 2013, minivan sales are up 20 percent.
By the standards of recent history, minivan sales are healthy. Fiat Chrysler Cars is clearing out City & Countrys and Grand Caravans within the lead-up to the Pacifica’s launch. Kia Sedona volume continues to grow faster than the minivan sector. Honda Odyssey sales tend to be up, albeit modestly. The Nissan Quest remains uncommon, however year-over-year sales more than bending in the first-quarter.
Meanwhile, sales from the Toyota Sienna, America’s top-selling individual minivan name plate in early 2016, are?upward 6 percent to Thirty four,529 units. Sienna sales take presctiption track to rise to a 10-year high in 2016.
But by conquering a number of minivans which are steadily improving, the Kia Transit is doing what no commercial van has done on an annual basis since 2011. At that time, the actual Ford E-Series narrowly sold more copies than the Sienna, Odyssey, Grand Caravan, Odyssey, and City & Country as the top-selling vans bickered amongst themselves in a hard-fought minivan sales race. (Keep in mind, Ford continues to marketplace the E-Series, largely in cutaway form, while the Transportation chassis cab/cutaway is, as of yet, not a large part of the Transit formula.)
There are reasons Kia can flex the Transit’s muscles to produce 36,022 first-quarter U.S. product sales. There are cargo and passenger variants, three roof heights, 3 wheelbases, and three motors C 58 combinations as a whole.
Toyota USA sells the Sienna with front or all-wheel-drive, seven or eight-passenger seats, one powerplant, and five trim levels.
The point is not merely that Ford can sell much more Transits than Toyota can sell Siennas. Certainly that wasn’t one of the goals for Ford’s product development team when it established?to bring the next-gen Transit to North America. The 2 categories in which vans compete aren’t even targeting the same buyer. There are plumbers as well as painters on the one hand, Pamelas as well as Peters on the other.
The Transit is actually, however, emblematic of the booming commercial truck market. And the fact that Kia can sell more commercial vans than Toyota may minivans helps to make the point.
Sales associated with full-size commercial vans are up 26 percent to date this year, a gain associated with nearly 18,Thousand units in an overall new vehicle market that?has broadened by slightly more than 3 percent. Ford, with the Transit and E-Series C that is down 9 percent this year but still outsells the Memory ProMaster, Mercedes-Benz Sprinter, Nissan NV, and GMC Savana C command 57 % of the full-size market.
Small commercial van growth, at 17 percent year-over-year, is impressive, but the smaller Ford Transit Connect’s 11-percent year-to-date drop (including a 26-percent dive in March) has come about with increasing strength from a number of competitors. Just 4 years ago, the Transit Connect was left to its own devices, basically fending off the odd Ram Cargo Truck microaggression. Now, the Transit Connect’s potential rivals range from the Nissan NV200, the Nissan’s Chevrolet City Express double, the Ram ProMaster Town, and the?Mercedes-Benz Metris. Together, those rivals claim 58 percent of a small commercial van market that?recently belonged exclusively to Ford.
Combined, a dozen commercial-oriented vans attracted 109,Thousand new owners within the first three months of 2016. Minivan sales rose 30 % to 143,482 units throughout the same period, because the Chrysler Town & Country and it is Dodge Grand Caravan double produced a Sienna-besting 65,328 sales, 6,590 much more sales than Ford’s three-pronged van/chassis taxi lineup.
The Mustang is clearly Ford’s headline producer. But the Transit, F-Series, and Blue Oval resources are proof Ford knows how to shake its money-maker.
[Images: Ford & Toyota]