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Auto blogWed, 18 Sep 2013 18:00:00 EST
The redesigned 2014 Ford Transit Connect isn't even on sale yet, but it's already making its presence felt around the world. At a commercial vehicle expo in Russia, the Transit Connect was named the International Van of the Year.
Ford's small work van edged out the new Mercedes-Benz Sprinter by just seven points to allow Ford to grab this honor for the second consecutive year, which it won last year with the Transit Custom. Not only does this make Ford the first to ever win the award in back-to-back years, but it's also the fifth time the automaker has won this award since 2003 (two with the Transit Connect, two with the fullsize Transit and once with the Transit Custom). Ford congratulates itself for the accomplishment in a press release posted below.
With a new boss at the helm, Ford is looking at new ways to improve its vehicle launches in North America to prevent recent issues that have popped up with models like the Lincoln MKZ, Ford Escape and Ford Fusion. Speaking with Automotive News, Ford's new president of the Americas, Joe Hinrichs, revealed a few ways the automaker plans to avoid early build issues such as the engine fires on certain 2013 Escape and Fusion models and months-long delays for customers to receive their MKZs.
It sounds like the root of the problems may have been Ford's relationship with suppliers compounded by the fact that the product surge came on the heels of the recent industry-crippling recession, and in the AN article, Hinrichs says improvements are being made to reduce problems during the launch of new or redesigned models. Three such improvements that were implemented during the first quarter of this year including more rigorous quality comparisons, better use of computer technology to catch major problems sooner and hiring engineers to work closer with suppliers.
Ten years ago, during the bright-eyed enthusiasm of the early 2000s and before the collective automotive industry did its best Titanic impression, we had the Ford GT. An everyman's supercar like there'd never been (remember, this was before 638-horsepower Corvettes were a thing), the GT arrived with a supercharged, 5.4-liter V8 that produced 550 horsepower and graced this retro-styled rocket with an easy, sub-four-second sprint to 60 miles per hour.
Equal to the GT's performance were its looks. Inspired by the GT40 racers that dominated Le Mans and bested Ferrari in the 1960s, the sleek, low, almost-reptilian look of the GT was the absolute pinnacle of the retro styling that so defined the early 2000s.
Crank and Piston put together a video celebrating the ten-year-old GT, arguing that Ford is a bit too busy with the next-gen Mustang, which turns 50 next week, to do it themselves. In the short clip, there is gratuitous engine noise and supercharger whine, not to mention scenes of the white-on-red GT prowling the deserts and streets of Dubai. It's a bit short, but very nicely shot. Scroll down, have a look and be sure to turn up those speakers before getting started.