The van market in India is coming of age and in the next few years they are going to be sharing space with compact SUVs on our roads. This not guess work, just see the number of vehicles that are in the pipelines - Nissan hasn't wasted any time in bringing the NV200 to our market.
General Motors did not have vans that were suited to our country's conditions and requirements, so they poached two of them (one was shown at the Expo, a smaller one is under testing) from their Chinese partner's arsenal.
The Maruti Omni (India's big daddy of vans) and the Eeco are exuding dominance at the bottom of the commercial vehicles pyramid. Though sales of the Maxximo mini van and the Ace Magic are soaring, they are a touch crude for a personal vehicle. The Venture feels more premium and manages 1,000+ units of sales every month.
TopGear feature on the Ford Transit
Companies like Toyota, Ford and Volkswagen having heavy ambitions don't have vans in India. That does not mean they don't build them at all. They have decades of success and a huge legacy with brands like the Toyota Hiace, Volkswagen Caddy and the Ford Transit.
The company we're talking about today is Ford. The Blue Oval gave birth to the Transit in 1965 and due to its car like handling and storage holding capacity of a MPV, it was the car of choice for bank robbers. Over five million units have been sold worldwide and the Transit has become synonymous with the word van in Europe and UK.
Yesterday Ford put out photographs and details of a concept that previews the next generation Ford Transit. The Tourneo Custom Concept crushes speculation on how the next 1-tonne family ferrying Transit van will look like. It's exactly like the Fiesta and Focus, sporting the Kinetic Design styling treats such as the large trapezoidal grille, muscular shoulder line, and pronounced wheel arches and window lines. The story continues in the cabin, the dashboard layout is frighteningly similar to Ford cars and the gear lever is mounted on the dash for better ergonomics.
Drive is derived from Ford’s 2.2-litre Duratorq TDCi diesel engine in three levels of power – 100PS, 125PS and 155PS. Plenty of variants will be on offer along with the choice of two wheelbases (SWB and LWB).
The question is, will a Transit, rewired for the Indian market with higher mileage, shorter wheelbase, price-conscious features and variants, work with Indian families?