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Ford’s Legendary Transit Commercial Vehicle Celebrates Fifty Years of Service to Businesses Worldwide

BIRMINGHAM, U.K., April 14, 2015 – Ford’s popular Transit commercial vehicle celebrates its 50th anniversary in 2015, marking five decades of loyal service to businesses around the world.

Since the first vehicle left the production line in Langley, England, on August 9, 1965, almost 8 million examples of the larger Transit and Transit Custom models have been built, as the Transit has grown from a single model to an entire family of Ford Transit commercial vehicles.

Lined up end-to-end, 50 years of Transits would circle the globe, and on average a new Transit has been bought by a customer every 180 seconds during its lifetime.

The latest expanded Transit line-up features four all-new models – Transit, Transit Custom, Transit Connect and Transit Courier – that are driving increased demand, helping to make Ford the most popular commercial vehicle brand in Europe in the first quarter of 2015* with sales rising by 42 per cent compared to the previous year.

“Ford Transit vehicles play a significant role in the lives and jobs of millions of people,” said Barb Samardzich, chief operating officer, Ford of Europe. “From getting workers to a building site, to delivering important packages, or even rushing a patient to the hospital, people all over the world rely on Ford Transits to get the job done.”

Launched in the same year that the first person walked in space, the Transit made an immediate impact, providing practical support to the booming economies of Europe. The Transit evolved with a vast range of bodystyles and variants: from the parcel van, through tipper trucks and campers, to outrageous one-offs, including the Cosworth V8-powered Supervans.

Growing popularity saw production of the Transit accelerate, so that after passing the first million milestone in 1976, it passed the next ones in 1985, 1994, 2000, 2005, 2010 and 2013. Factor in demand for the smaller Transit Connect – with more than 1 million sold – and the compact all-new Transit Courier, and total Transit production is scheduled to top 9 million during 2015.

Transit vehicles also have introduced a list of technology innovations for commercial vehicles to help improve performance, comfort and safety; from features like side loading doors, radial ply tyres and halogen headlights, to direct injection diesel engines, high security locks and standard anti-lock brakes. The latest Transit models have added state-of-the-art technologies like Adaptive Cruise Control and Lane Keeping Alert.

“Ford’s Transit family continues to innovate, helping customers carry more goods, reduce their running costs and arrive reliably and safely at their destination,” Samardzich added.

The success of the Transit has seen production expand beyond Europe, including facilities in Nanchang, China with Ford’s strategic partner Jiangling Motors Corp (JMC).

The global expansion of Transit production and sales took a further significant step in mid-2014 as the Transit entered North America for the first time, with the all-new two-tonne Transit being built in Kansas City, Mo. This has helped extend the all-new Transit to 118 customer markets across six continents.

"The Ford Transit has a superb heritage and an even brighter future,” Samardzich said. “As we pass this incredible 50-year milestone, we look forward to helping even more customers get their businesses moving forward with a Transit.”

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* Ford of Europe reports its sales for the 20 European main markets where it is represented through National Sales Companies. The Euro 20 markets are: Austria, Belgium, Britain, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Spain, Romania, Sweden and Switzerland.