(from Ford Press
Release) FORD TRANSIT CONNECT TAXI CONCEPT OFFERS NEW
PERSPECTIVE ON URBAN TRANSPORTATION OPTIONS
fuel-efficient, nimble Transit Connect Taxi concept in the taxi
capital of America New York City.
easy-to-access interior marries the maneuverability and fuel
efficiency of a small car, showing how perfectly suited Transit
Connect is for carrying people and cargo through congested city
provides another example of how Ford is leveraging its global
Transit Connect is
designed, engineered and manufactured by Ford of Europe. It was
named International Van of the Year when launched in 2003.
NEW YORK, March 19, 2008
Ford, the leading provider of taxis in North America, is offering
a fresh take on taxis at the New York International Auto Show.
Taxis are an important part of the urban landscape, and the Transit
Connect Taxi concept represents a potential game-changer, given its
small footprint, comfortable, spacious interior, fuel-efficient
engine and affordability, said Mark Fields, president of The
Americas. Were interested to see how people react.
Ford has been a leader in the taxi business for decades. The Ford
Crown Victoria is the leader in the taxi market in cities throughout
Ford also was the first manufacturer to introduce gas-electric
hybrid-powered taxis into North American fleets with the launch of
the Ford Escape Hybrid in San Francisco and New York City in early
2005. Today, New Yorks Escape hybrid fleet has grown to more than
800, including the original 18 that joined the fleet in 2005, still
running with the original nickel-metal hydride batteries intact.
The Transit Connect Taxi concept offers a new perspective on how to
move people and their gear through congested city streets more
cleanly, efficiently and with new technology that could
revolutionize the taxi industry.
Built on a dedicated, commercial vehicle platform and tested to
Fords toughest truck standards, Transit Connect is specially made
to meet the extreme demands of taxi service.
With its standard, 2.0-liter, four-cylinder engine and automatic
transmission, Transit Connect delivers estimated fuel economy of 19
mpg in the city a more than 30 percent improvement in fuel economy
and nearly 90 percent lower tailpipe emissions than many of todays
A Small Footprint with Big
Transit Connect blends
well into cityscapes. Its smart, vertical stacked design is able to
accommodate three rear-cab passengers and 75 cu. ft. of parcels in
part because it emulates the city skyline that surrounds it.
When cities ran out of horizontal space at the turn of the 20th
century, architects started to build upward, said Peter Horbury,
executive director of Design, The Americas. The Transit Connect
Taxi concept brings that same idea to the streets, changing the
shape of the space, making it taller with a smaller and narrow
In addition to its new shape, the Transit Connect Taxi concepts
paint scheme and expressive graphic treatment lend it unique
Designers didnt abandon iconic yellow paint but they did change
the formula to a more modern hue that contrasts with deep gray,
molded-in-color fender flares as well as front and rear fascias that
serve dual duty as impact-resistant bumpers.
Most noticeable up top is a futuristic interpretation of the yellow
taxi bubble. The space-age looking flat-panel unit, mounted
horizontally above the Taxi concepts roof, is lit on all four sides
green if the cab is available, orange if its occupied.
Easy Access to a Spacious,
The Transit Connect Taxi
concept gives curb service new meaning. With 6.5-inches of ground
clearance, passengers step easily through the sliding doors and into
the cab, instead of sliding down into the back seat.
The concepts standard high-roof van offers ample headroom,
accentuated by a vista roof that brightens the three-person
passenger compartment and provides views of the urban architecture.
The Taxi concept also features a new electronic infotainment and
navigation system that shows passengers their accumulating cab fare,
and a scrolling news, weather, sports score and stock ticker. Using
the 13-inch diagonal touch screen, passengers also can select their
choice of video and music channels, follow the taxis journey on a
map or scroll through a list of points of interest along the route
including restaurants, museums and shops.
Once at the destination, the screen displays the fare with options
to pay via cash, credit or debit. Cardholders can swipe their card,
enter a pin number for debit, calculate the tip and complete the
transaction right from their seat. Cash-paying passengers can use
Sputnik, a rotating billet aluminum softball-sized orb that
replaces the outdated sliding ashtray used on todays taxis.
Ahead of the partition, the drivers area comes with a fold-flat
passenger seat that doubles as a work station. The Transit Connect
Taxi concept is equipped with a special version of the Ford Work
Solutions integrated computer.
The in-dash computer, powered by Microsoft Auto, provides full
high-speed Internet access via the Sprint Mobile Broadband Network
and works with Bluetooth-enabled mobile phones. Thanks to Garmin
navigation, the system features real-time weather and traffic
information, allowing drivers to find the most trouble-free routes.
A History of Strong Products
In addition to taxi
leadership, Ford has made a name for itself across the Atlantic for
vans such as Transit Connect that people can rely on to get the job
done. Transit Connect is designed, engineered and manufactured by
Ford of Europe.
Launched in 2003, Transit Connect was named International Van of the
Year its first year in-market. Transit Connect will come to the U.S.
in summer 2009, as a brand-new offering for small business owners
seeking fuel-efficient, flexible transportation with plenty of room
to fit their needs.
Transit Connect provides another example of how Ford is leveraging
its global product assets, Fields said. Small business owners have
told us how eager they are to see this product come to the U.S. next
year, and it will be interesting to see how many other types of
customers might want a Transit Connect in their garage or driveway