Does Ford have enough capacity in Spain, where you make the Transit Courier and Connect, and Turkey, where you build the Transit Custom and Transit, to reach your goals?
We announced a capacity expansion in Turkey. Twice last year, we increased our capacity; and by the middle of this year, we will be at full capacity again in Turkey. That’s enough for our growth plans, but that's being constantly evaluated.
You are not the only automaker pushing van growth. How do you stay ahead?
A continued breadth of offering is key. In the next 18 months, we will be relaunching all our commercial-vehicle products; and we will have the freshest lineup, which is critical. We're working very hard to be leading on fuel economy and resale value — key drivers of cost of ownership.
What technologies can you lean on to improve fuel economy?
We recently introduced our brand new Panther diesel engine (EcoBlue), and that's a leading engine on fuel economy.
You've got a plug-in hybrid Transit coming next year, and you have a tie-up with DHL's electric-vehicle vanmaker, StreetScooter. What are your electrification targets?
There's a lot more than putting a battery in. It's linked to use case. For instance, if the battery results in less payload, requiring customers to change business models, then that's not the right solution. We are currently piloting the plug-in hybrid together with our customers and teaming up with DHL on StreetScooter to really understand how the last-mile delivery customers use their vehicles. We're convinced our world will look very different in a few years.
What's next with StreetScooter?
StreetScooter put its powertrain into our big Transit, and we're working together with them to optimize the product for their specific use case. We plan to build 2,800 vehicles this year, making it one of the largest EV van producers in Europe in 2018.
What is the engineering overlap with cars in terms of van platforms?
The two bigger vans share a dedicated van platform, but we share technologies — for example, the driver assistance features we are introducing. The smaller vans — the Courier and Connect — are shared with subcompact and compact cars, respectively.
How little do the vans change when sold outside Europe?
We have the global engineering facility for the Transit range in the UK, so that's the first scale opportunity. The big Transit is also manufactured in the U.S., and the 1-ton Custom is also sold in Asia. They are different by region, but they use the same platform everywhere in the world.
So, the van is a true global product?
The use cases are pretty similar around the world. Of course, there are differences. But everywhere you need to move stuff around, which allows us to look at global solutions.