CHICAGO AUTO SHOW

Ford people mover targets minivan buyers

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CHICAGO -- Ford hopes the 2014 Transit Connect Wagon will give shoppers a smaller, cheaper alternative to minivans such as the Honda Odyssey, Toyota Sienna or Chrysler Group's minivan siblings.

The Transit Connect is built in Spain and is offered in two versions: the Wagon people mover and the cargo van. Doug Scott, Ford's truck marketing manager, says the company hopes to increase Wagon sales.

In the previous generation, about 80 percent of Transit Connect sales were the cargo van, Scott said. With the 2014 redesign, Scott projects the Wagon will account for about 60 percent of the mix.

"We were able to get the unique needs of the U.S. customer into the [Wagon's] design right from the start this time around," Scott said at the Chicago Auto Show. "This gives us a presence in the market we've not been in since the Windstar" died after the 2003 model year, Scott said.

The Transit Connect Wagon will be offered in long- and short-wheelbase versions. Prices, including shipping, for the Wagon start at $22,995 for a short-wheelbase XL version and range up to $34,320 for a fully loaded long-wheelbase Titanium version.

You can reach Bradford Wernle at bwernle@crain.com.


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