Dropping a segment GM had already abandoned for the past several years, Ford will no longer sell the Ford Transit Connect van in either the U.S. or Canada following the 2023 model year.
The Ford Transit Connect is a small commercial van, a vehicle type no longer in strong demand in North America, as reported by Automotive News.
Plans to build the Ford Transit Connect in Mexico were also recently scrapped. Ford will continue building its commercial van model in Spain, but instead of some Transit Connects being exported to the U.S., all Spanish production will henceforth be directed to European markets.
Several other automakers are also ending availability of the small commercial vans in the United States and Canada. These include Stellantis, which is pulling its Ram ProMaster City from the North American market, and Mercedes-Benz, which is following suit with its Metris passenger and cargo vans.
GM abandoned the small commercial van market back in 2018 when it decided to discontinue its Nissan NV200-based Chevy City Express following weak sales. The 2018 Chevrolet City Express was officially discontinued in July 2018, though production had actually ceased at in January of that year.
Sales numbers for the Chevy City Express fell far short of its rivals. The General sold 6,341 units of the City Express in all of calendar 2018, a fraction of the 31,923 Ford Transit Connect units purchased during the same timeframe. Other 2018 small commercial van sales figures include 18,628 Nissan NV200s and 13,788 ProMaster City vans from Ram. GM has not offered a new small commercial van since.
However, while small commercial vans like the Ford Transit Connect are being phased out in the North American market by multiple manufacturers, GM is busy launching all-electric full-size commercial vans through its BrightDrop subsidiary.
Since its 2021 debut, BrightDrop has launched several products. One of these is the BrightDrop Trace, an electrically assisted cargo pallet or e-cart that rolls on four wheels. Powered by a built-in electric hub motor, the Trace allows drivers to handle 25 percent more packages daily.
The vehicles produced by BrightDrop include the upcoming BrightDrop Zevo 400, a commercial EV van with 400 cubic feet of cargo space. The subsidiary also produces the BrightDrop Zevo 600, an electric vehicle boasting 250 miles of range per charge along with more than 600 cubic feet of cargo room. Production of the Zevo 600 began at the GM CAMI plant in Ingersoll, Canada in December 2022.