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Niche developments give Ford volume lift

Date: 25 February 2009   |   Author:

Steve Kimber is director of commercial vehicles at Ford

Ford's latest new model developments preview the firm's tactic for boosting volumes in 2009.

The firm has added new derivatives to the Transit range, including a Utility Cab model that offers secure storage in place of the second row of seats found in the regular Transit double-cab. That saves chassis cab customers from needing a bed-mounted box to secure tools and equipment.

Launched in response to requests mainly from utility firms, the addition to the Transit range illustrates Ford's plans for 2009, with a range of developments scheduled to appear through the year on all its CV models. Another recently launched development is an aerodynamic kit for the Transit box van, which cuts consumption by up to 11%, while Ford is also introducing a gear-change shift light to help save both fuel and wear and tear by coaxing drivers into change gear earlier.

"We'll continue to expand the range, we'll continue to better meet the needs of the market," Ford CV boss Steve Kimber (pictured) told BusinessCar. "There's a collective volume improvement. Individually they're small but that's the only way to do it, building slowly."

Kimber promised more arrivals in the second quarter, models that would have been shown at April's CV Show if the event hadn't been cancelled. Kimber also said the firm is analysing the potential for a Focus van.

"There's only GM in that market and they do 10,000 per year," he said. "If I come along with a Focus van I'll have half of that please."

But the need for separate body presses to create what would in effect be a three-door Focus estate may rule the model out on cost grounds.

"In terms of expense versus result, is it worth it? I'm not sure it is," said Kimber.