Ford is to increase the maximum gross vehicle weight of its Transit van by the end of next year in order to better supply demand from the conversion sector increasing the Ford Transit dimensions to new levels.
Large Transit vans with a gross vehicle weight of 5 tonnes will arrive by Q4 2020 with an extra-long wheelbase L5 skeletal chassis also due to arrive mid-year.
Springs, dampeners and suspension have all had to be modified to accommodate the change in gross vehicle weight which will increase from 4.7 tonnes to 5 tonnes promising well in excess of 2.5 tonnes payload for a chassis cab and just under 2.5 tonnes for a panel van version. The largest model currently available is a Transit 470 L4H3 with a payload of 2,169kg.
“If you look at all of our commercial vehicles we lead the segment in each of them, but above 3.5-tonne is the one segment where we don’t. We see an opportunity in conversions for the potential of the higher GVW, particularly in areas such as campers or ambulances. If you look at the competition, 5 tonnes is the sweet spot. It’s not a massive move from where we are, but in the market above 3.5 tonnes we are third in the UK, but it’s a big gap between us and the leaders. A 5-tonne van will make us more competitive in many more sectors,” said Iain Brooks Ford Tranist product marketing manager.
Revisions to a number of components for the latest generation of Transit van have seen an increase in payloads of up to 80kg. While certain areas of the body and other key components will have had to be strengthened, adding weight, the 5-tonne Transit will benefit from many of the new weight saving features of the new model. These include a 5.4kg reduction in the weight of the bonnet by switching from steel to aluminium, a composite bulkhead saving 4.4kg and 14.7kg weight saving in the rear axle.
New production methods have meant that a down gauging of certain metal components has been possible with further 6.1kg saved on the weight of the fuel tank, revised front bumper beam and high-strength steel cross-members save 4.9kg and 2.7kg, respectively, while new steel wheels reduce weight by 5.5kg.
All of these changes will help make the Transit more competitive above and below 3.5 tonnes.