The Ford Transit, consistently Ireland’s best-selling van, has just celebrated its 50th birthday. Since it was first launched in 1965, the Transit has sold more than 7 million units worldwide.
In Ireland, some 125,000 Transits have been sold and, down the years, they have played a significant part in this country’s economic development.
The coming of Transit in 1965 coincided with the implementation of, economist and civil servant, T.K. Whittaker’s plans for Ireland’s economic expansion. Cometh the hour, cometh the van! And soon Transits were a familiar sight on building sites, town centres and burgeoning industrial estates as Ireland’s 1960s boom took off.
And the Cork Ford factory played its own small part in the success of Transit, as part of a small manufacturing programme, some 1,745 Transit models were produced at the Cork Marina facility during the late 1960s.
Every sizeable company in operation in Ireland that has a transport need has used Transit down through the years. From the old P&T, CIE and ESB through to the names we still see today: eircom, Kerry Foods, UPC, An Post, Iarnróid Eireann, Bord na Mona, the Irish Army, the Health Boards, the Garda, and thousands upon thousands of smaller companies, tradesmen and ‘one-man’ operators – all have adopted Transit as a key team member.
“In the world of medium commercial vehicles, Transit is an icon of its times – a family of vehicles that has almost as many roles as it has owners”, commented Ciarán McMahon, Chairman and Managing Director, Ford Ireland. “Like every really great product, it has won a place in the hearts and minds of millions of people around the world and no less so, here in Ireland. It was a winner from the day it was launched, and by continuously updating and refining the vehicle we have maintained that position for 50 years”.
The modern Transit range has grown to encompass four distinct models that each meet the variety of needs of our diverse customer-base. Going from the small Transit Courier (max payload of up to 660kg), to the medium Transit Connect (max payload of up to 1,004kg), the Transit Custom, the top-selling van in Ireland, (max payload of up to 1,507kg) and finishing with the largest model, known as Transit (max payload of up to 2,281kg).
“The real secret to Transit’s enduring success is that, as a manufacturer, we listen to customers. At the design stage of each new version of Transit, we consult with customers to hear their requests and to experience how they use their vans in their everyday jobs. From that information, we are able to provide them with vehicles that continuously meet their changing needs”, concluded McMahon.