2010 Ford Transit Connect - Click above for high-res image gallery
The law of unintended consequences is a funny one. Take the chicken tax. Back in the 1960s, West Germany imposed high tariffs on American grown chicken. President Johnson – a man you would not want to mess with – fought back by imposing high import tariffs on foreign made trucks and commercial vans. This is one of the reasons why there are no full-size German pickup trucks. It's also why German egg yolks are orange while ours are yellow (grass fed chicken vs. corn fed chicken), but that's another story. The only reason we have the Toyota Tundra and the Nissan Titan is because those companies decided to make them here in the U.S. Otherwise they'd be too expensive. This poses a real problem if you're Ford and you want to bring in your made-in-Turkey Transit Connect van.
How to circumvent the law? There's all sorts of creative ways. Up until just recently, Chrysler's been selling Sprinter vans here in the States by shipping them unassembled to a factory in South Carolina where the vans are reconstituted and shipped to dealers. Ford's taking a slightly different approach. They actually ship the Transit Connects here with the vans classified as wagons. Then, once they reach a processing facility in Baltimore, they are transformed into cargo vans, totally side-stepping the Chicken Tax. Smart, huh?
The process of transforming a passenger "wagon" into a cargo van works like this. The rear windows are removed and replaced by a sheet of metal that's quick cured in place. The rear seats and seat belts are then removed and a new floorboard is screwed into place. Voila – five minutes after they start as five-passenger wagons, Ford has a bunch of two-seater panel vans. The seats are then shredded and the material is used as land fill cover. No word on what happens to the glass. Long story short, take that chicken tax!
Related GalleryFirst Drive: 2010 Ford Transit Connect