Saturday, October 07, 2006

With a redesign of the Sprinter, and possible expansion of the range, isn't it time for a new Econoline or the Transit?

Some products have a long life cycle and then there's the Ford Econoline. When was the last time this line was updated? It's got to be at least 12 years. But it's a staple of commercial fleets right. Who would want to upset the apple cart by making a dramatic change?
That's probably what Dodge thought alll those years. Look at this 1996 van here, you can see how little it's changed over say a 1977 version. New products cost, but Dodge learned the lesson of letting a product get stale, when they had to discount their full size vans heavilly, just to get them off the lots.
And so they made a dramatic change, they borrowed their new parent company's commercial van from overseas. Also sold as a Mercedes and a Freightliner, the "new" Dodge Sprinter is a leap from the old Tradesman van. A 5 cyl Diesel gives it far superior fuel economy, while not really loosing useful power. And the different chassis, wheelbase and payload options are almost limitless. No wonder Mercedes/Dodge sell so many of these around the world.
You would think they are the most popular commercial vehicle on the globe, but you'd be wrong, the Ford Transit is. There's even a documentary by the same name. So if Ford is really going to make some "Bold Moves" maybe this should be one of them. The Transit is now available with all wheel drive, combine that with it's flexible packaging and economical Diesel powertrains, it's a wonder customers haven't been clamoring for them.

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