Drive Type: manual
Exterior Color: Blue
Interior Color: Black
Leesburg, Ohio, United States
If the 2014 Transit Connect is anything like it's utile current-generation predecessor, and we suspect it is, it will undoubtedly be one of the most functional vehicles in North America. Ford has used the occasion of SEMA to turn the TC in to things that both make use of that functionality, and occasionally sort of wreck it in the name of good old-fashioned fun. The Ford Hot Wheels Transit Connect most certainly falls into that second category.
Most TC owners might cite the vehicle's massive cargo capacity as its top positive trait, though in the case of this wide-bodied Transit said space has been sapped in the name of a 55-inch television screen, a massive Hot Wheels drag strip (continuing a popular theme at SEMA this year) and custom storage for dozens of models from one's personal hot wheels collection. Designers have also plucked the grippy Recaro seats from the Focus ST, and thrown in a pair of 18-inch tablet screens for connectivity on the go.
Naturally, the Transit Connect wouldn't be an appropriate SEMA vehicle, or Hot Wheels name-bearer, if it weren't wearing an eye-popping appearance package. Additional homage to the Focus RS can be found in the blazing blue and orange front fascia and bumpers, while 20-inch wheels make sure the wider (four-inches in front and six-inches in the back) Transit Connect sits just right. The 2.5-liter four-cylinder-engine that powers the Hot Wheels TC ensures that the concept is more show than go, but you probably had that pegged from your first look, anyway.
Ford's long-dormant Escort nameplate returned affixed to a sedan concept at last year's Shanghai Motor Show. While not exactly a beauty, it showed a clean, straightforward take on Ford's current styling. The Blue Oval said at the time that it wanted to create a model that was stylish "but not one that is arrogant or pretentious." Job done. A year later, it looks like the minimalist vehicle might make its production debut at the Beijing Motor Show.
Autocar claims that the streetgoing version has been confirmed to it for the upcoming show, but so far, Ford isn't saying. If unveiled, the Escort is likely to be produced locally for the Chinese market with a domestic partner. Powertrain details remain a secret, but it seems highly likely that any production model would use a small three- or four-cylinder engine and front-wheel drive. Sales in other major world markets like ours are unlikely, but a test car was recently spotted in Europe.
Autoblog contacted Ford for confirmation, but the automaker demurred, with a spokesperson saying only, "At the moment, we are not confirming any vehicles planned for the show." It looks like we will have to wait to know for sure.
It's hardly a secret that the auto industry is undergoing an enormous, tectonic shift in the way it thinks, builds cars and does business. Between alternative forms of energy, a renewed focus on low curb weights and aerodynamic bodies, the advent of driverless and autonomous cars and the need to reduce the our impact on the environment, it's very likely that the car that's built 10 years down the line will be scarcely recognizable when parked next to the car from 10 years ago.
Few people are as able to explain the industry's many upcoming changes and challenges as clearly as William Clay Ford, Jr., better known as Bill Ford. The 57-year-old currently sits as the executive chairman of the company his great-grandfather, Henry Ford, founded over 110 years ago.
In an op-ed piece in The Wall Street Journal (subscription required), Ford explains that the role of automakers is, necessarily, going to change to suit the needs of the future world. That means changing the view of not just the automobile, but the automaker. As Ford explains it, automakers will "move from being just car and truck manufacturers to become personal-mobility companies."