Ford is set to enter the minibus and large panel- van markets in South Africa with the new Transit Custom and Tourneo Custom, due for introduction in the first quarter of next year.
The local arm of the US manufacturer is, however, not considering entering the local minibus taxi market, or assembling such vehicles locally, says Ford Motor Company of Southern Africa (FMCSA) spokesperson Rella Bernardes.
FMCSA’s Silverton plant will continue to focus on the production of the one-ton Ranger pick-up platform, and will not take advantage of a new government support programme for taxi assembly, she notes.
Representing a new generation of Ford one-ton vehicles, the Transit Custom is aimed at the commercial vehicle market, while the people- mover version of the Transit Custom will be known as the Tourneo Custom.
Ford believes the Transit Custom will find favour with customers such as professionals, skilled tradespeople and small businesses, while the Tourneo Custom will appeal to families and operators in the hospitality industry.
Both the Transit Custom and the Tourneo Custom will be offered in long- and short-wheelbase versions, with the Tourneo Custom offering seating capacity for eight occupants.
The Tourneo Custom features a high- opening tailgate and flexible seating configuration, allowing one to fold or stow the second- and third-row seats in more than 30 different ways, creating luggage space as required.
Both models will be powered by Ford’s 2.2 ℓ Duratorq TDCi diesel.
The new Transit Custom and Tourneo Custom models for South Africa will be built at the Ford Otosan plant, in Kocaeli, Turkey.