September 22, 2009

WTFord Transit Connect Tariff Nonsense

ford_tourneo_connect.jpg

You remember how the Ford Transit Connect [made in Turkey] is a utilitastic little European commercial van which can also be outfitted with rear seats and windows to transorm it into a nice little five-passenger wagon? Yeah, well, it turns out that because of some random chicken-vs.-vans tariff left over from the Johnson administration, all Transit Connects actually are wagons, which get a five-minute makeover to turn them into panel vans as soon as they hit US soil. That helps them avoid a 25% import tariff on foreign vans and trucks.

The Wall Street Journal has a funny/infuriating story about the operation in Baltimore where Transit Connect wagons are stripped of their seats and windows and turned into vans. The seat pads are shredded and dumped, but the glass and steel are recycled. The Journal makes it clear, too, that there are TC's that stay as wagons and keep right on rolling.

Which all sounds suitably goofy, of course, but it also means that TC wagons should be available now, no waiting until April 2010. Amiright?

Now let's hear how it only takes five minutes to install the third row seats from the UK peoplemover version, the Tourneo Connect. I understand if it takes a day or two for the translucent B-pillars. Because who keeps those in stock?

ford_tourneo_seats.jpg

To Outfox the Chicken Tax, Ford Strips Its Own Vans [wsj, thanks dt readers seth and jj daddy-o]
Ford Tourneo Connect, 5- or 8-passenger models [ford.co.uk]

4 Comments

Here's the official site:
http://www.fordvehicles.com/transitconnect/

I landed in Southern California today and promptly saw one driving down the street being used for a painter's van

I still haven't seen one in person yet. Think I might detour by a dealer.

The TC with the bike fit studio built into it, from your LV flickr extravaganza is pretty cool.

NYT review of the TC: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/09/27/automobiles/autoreviews/27ford-transit.html?_r=1&hpw

Review points out that it may not fit into your garage. (Why didn't I think of that? Maybe because I don't have a garage.) So much for my thoughts about this as a perfect American family vehicle.

The TC website says it's 6'8" and says its "low vehicle height" is designed to handle parking structures and "low clearance areas without a care." A standard garage door is 7'. I went to see a TC yesterday at a dealer. They only had one in stock, a basic caged-back work van. Those panels they put in for the rear windows look like panels put in for the windows.

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