It may not have the same broad appeal and recognition as the Mustang or the recently-unveiled 2015 F-150, but the 2015 Ford Transit is about to make Dearborn a formidable player in the commercial van segment with a thoroughly contemporary and modern model. To help gear up for the van’s expected summer 2014 availability, Ford has announced the hiring of 1000 new employees at its Kansas City assembly, with 175 more to be hired by March in advance of the new van’s launch.
The new hires in Kansas City are part of Ford’s broader expansion for 2014, with 5000 new hires anticipated for the year, representing the company’s largest hiring initiative since 2000. The addition of the new employees at Kansas City put Ford among the top 10 employers in the state of Missouri. The March new hires will bring Kansas City Assembly’s employee total to more than 4600.
The Kansas City plant also builds the Ford F-150, which is also built in Dearborn. Dearborn will build the first aluminum-bodied 2015 F-150s, with Kansas City coming on in the first quarter of 2015 with the new bodystyle. Production of the outgoing steel-bodied F-150 will continue for most of 2014 in Kansas City.
The Ford Transit, which has been one of Europe’s most popular commercial vans for more than four decades, replaces the long-running E-Series Econoline vans, with more than twice the cargo capacity, a higher payload capacity, and higher fuel efficiency. Whereas the outgoing E-Series vans are powered exclusively by V-8 and V-10 engines, the 2015 Transit will not offer any V-8 engines. The engines available for the 2015 Transit will be a 3.7-liter naturally-aspirated V-6, a 3.5-liter EcoBoost V-6, and a 3.2-liter I-5 turbodiesel.