Ford's new compact Transit Connect vans are already proving to be a popular option for commercial operators needing something more fuel efficient than the traditional full-size vans. Through the end of November, Ford had sold nearly 7,000 units in the first four months of availability.
One of the biggest companies to adopt the Transit Connect is Reddy Ice Holdings. Reddy is the largest provider of bagged ice in the United States and operates a fleet of 250 vehicles nationwide to service the ice dispensers. With its capacious rear compartment, the Transit Connect provides ample room for tools and parts for such applications. The 2.0-liter four cylinder engine provides adequate performance while getting double the typical mileage of the older E-series vans. The low load floor of the TC also makes access to parts and tools a lot easier for service personnel. So far, Reddy has acquired 17 Transit Connects and could eventually replace most of its fleet if the initial batch works out well.
LARGEST U.S. ICE MANUFACTURER, DISTRIBUTOR OPTS FOR FUEL EFFICIENCY OF FORD TRANSIT CONNECT
* Reddy Ice Holdings, headquartered in Dallas, Texas, is the largest manufacturer and distributor of packaged ice in the United States. The company, which sells its products primarily under the widely known Reddy Ice® brand, recently purchased 17 Ford Transit Connect vans for use by technicians servicing Ice Factory™ ice-dispensing machines located throughout the country.
* Ice Factory service technicians drive an average of 25,000 to 50,000 miles a year. Reddy Ice's goal was to replace some of the fleet's traditional cargo vans with a "greener," more affordable vehicle that provided greater fuel efficiency, more compact cargo-carrying capacity and easier maneuverability in crowded areas.
* Transit Connect is equipped with a 2.0-liter I-4 engine and four-speed automatic overdrive transmission combination, rated at 22 mpg city, 25 highway. On sale now, Transit Connect starts at $21,475, including destination.
CONTEXT / BACKGROUND
Reddy Ice Holdings, headquartered in Dallas, Texas, is the largest manufacturer and distributor of packaged ice in the United States. One of the company's products is the Ice Factory, a stand-alone machine that dispenses packaged ice.
Looking for a "greener," more affordable van to replace some of the vehicles currently in its fleet, including Dodge Sprinters and Chevrolet HHRs, Ready Ice opted for the Ford Transit Connect. The company's technicians will now drive Transit Connects to service and maintain the thousands of Ice Factory machines throughout the country.
For more information about Reddy Ice, please visit www.reddyice.com.
Reddy Ice Holdings, the largest manufacturer and distributor of packaged ice in the United States, employs more than 2,000 people year-round. The company sells its products primarily under the widely known Reddy Ice brand to a variety of customers in 32 states and the District of Columbia.
One of the company's products is the Ice Factory ice-dispensing machine. There are several thousand machines at various locations throughout the country that need to be serviced and maintained on a regular basis.
The Ice Factory service fleet consists of 250 vehicles, most of them traditional cargo vans. According to Lee Hatch, Reddy Ice corporate fleet manager, Ice Factory service technicians rack up between 25,000 and 50,000 miles annually on each vehicle, and he needed to find a vehicle that could begin to replace some of the large, gas-guzzling vans in the fleet.
Hatch says he spent a great deal of time researching vehicles. His primary criteria were environmental impact, fuel efficiency, cargo-carrying space and vehicle cost.
He chose the Ford Transit Connect because it provides ample cargo-carrying capacity in a compact vehicle. It also offers much better fuel economy and is more environmentally friendly than traditional cargo vans.
Hatch says he also appreciates the Transit Connect's compact size, which makes the vehicle easier for drivers to maneuver and park. And the price is affordable. Hatch says that in many instances, he can buy two Transit Connects for the same price as one traditional cargo van.
Hatch upfitted his 17 Transit Connects with storage bins for parts and tools. Some of the vehicles have accommodations for refrigeration tanks and equipment.
The response from Ice Factory service technicians driving the Transit Connect has been positive. And future plans are to continue to expand the number of Transit Connects in the Ice Factory fleet.
Ford's Transit Connect enjoys a global reputation for durability and toughness dating back to its 2003 launch, when an expert jury of European commercial vehicle journalists dubbed it International Van of the Year.
Ford's Transit Connect is powered by a 2.0-liter I-4 engine with a four-speed automatic overdrive transmission. The vehicle offers double the fuel economy of full-size vans with a rating of 22 mpg city and 25 highway.
The versatile Transit Connect is a global Ford product that can be adapted to multiple commercial business applications. It has more than double the cargo-carrying space of the Chevrolet HHR Panel, and it offers users a cargo payload of up to 1,600 pounds, which means that it can carry a larger payload than the full-size Dodge Ram 1500 standard-cab short-box pickup truck.
The Transit Connect is available now at Ford dealerships throughout the country.
"We're just getting our toes wet with the Transit Connect, but so far we're very pleased with what we've seen."
– Lee Hatch, corporate fleet manager, Reddy Ice
"Transit Connect was developed to bring small business owners a new vehicle choice, offering significantly improved fuel economy and generous and accessible cargo space with the agility and maneuverability to deliver the goods in tight quarters."
– Rob Stevens, chief nameplate engineer, Ford Transit Connect|