Ford has launched the first vehicle from its wide-ranging partnership with Volkswagen Group, the new Tourneo Connect small passenger van.
The Tourneo Connect is a version of the new VW Caddy van. It will be built alongside the Caddy at VW's factory in Poznan, Poland.
It comes in two lengths and can seat up to seven people. Deliveries start in spring 2022, Ford said in a statement.
Ford and VW announced an industrial alliance in 2019 for the joint engineering and production of commercial vehicles, as well as other projects such as autonomous cars and an electric car for Ford on VW's MEB platform.
The first Ford-developed vehicle to be revealed under the joint venture will be the next-generation Ranger pickup that is expected be shown later this year. A VW version badged as Amarok will be built by Ford under the partnership.
The companies said in 2020 that they would produce a total of 8 million commercial vehicles together, including pickups and vans.
A Transit Connect commercial version of the Caddy is also planned but is "quite some time away" because the existing Transit Connect built at Ford's plant in Valencia, Spain, is still selling well, a source close to Ford told Automotive News Europe.
The Tourneo Connect comes with VW-sourced engines, including a 1.5-liter gasoline and two 2.0-liter diesels. A "zero emissions capable" version will follow later, Ford said.
"Ford's commercial vehicle family of products in Europe will be 100 percent zero-emissions capable, all-electric of plug-in hybrid, by 2024," the company said. So customers can look forward to an electrified Tourneo Connect joining the lineup."
The electrified Tourneo/Transit Connect is expected to be a plug-in hybrid rather than full electric. VW has not announced a full-electric Caddy; that segment is expected to be covered by a production version of the ID Buzz van concept.
European competitors include a trio of Stellantis vans, the Citroen Berlingo, Peugeot Rifter and Opel/Vauxhall Combo; and the Renault Kangoo, all of which have full-electric versions. Fiat, now part of Stellantis, sells the Doblo Combi, which is not electrified. The segment is known as car-derived vans because they are generally built on versions of passenger-car platforms.