DETROIT — Ford Motor Co. has approached suppliers about building a small van alongside an upcoming compact pickup and the Bronco Sport crossover in Hermosillo, Mexico, according to people familiar with the situation.
While plans could change, Ford has requested parts quotes for a van code-named V758 that would go into production there in 2023. The automaker told suppliers to expect volume of about 40,000 units per year, according to one person.
The vehicle would likely serve as the next-generation Transit Connect, the top-selling small van in the U.S.
Ford announced in March 2019 that it would source the Transit Connect from Mexico in 2021, although those ambitions — along with plans for other facilities, such as Michigan's Flat Rock Assembly, announced at the same the time — were quietly shelved later that year following contract negotiations with the UAW. Automotive News and others reported last year that Ford was expected to import the next-generation van from Europe through its partnership with Volkswagen.
A Ford spokesman declined to comment, citing a policy of not speculating about future product. The company has also not yet formally acknowledged the compact pickup, code-named P758, that is due this year, although it has been building prototypes since at least January.
The van would further expand Ford's use of its C2 front-wheel-drive/all-wheel-drive architecture, which underpins the Ford Escape and Lincoln Corsair crossovers. Ford previously said the architecture would eventually be used for 10 or 11 nameplates, representing 2 million vehicles, although it's unclear whether those product plans have changed since Jim Farley became CEO last fall.
Farley has placed an increased emphasis on commercial vehicles, and the Transit Connect plays a key role there.
Ford currently imports the small van from Spain.
U.S. sales of the Transit Connect rose 6.3 percent in February, a bright spot in an otherwise down month. Deliveries have fallen 13 percent through the first two months of the year.
Transit Connect sales fell 17 percent in 2020.