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Ford And Ram Drop Their Small Vans, Spelling End For Segment

Small commercial vans are a cheaper, more efficient way for businesses to get around, but they haven't proven very popular in America. Not too long ago, the segment consisting of five different offerings. Fast forward to 2022, and Ford has announced that it will end US production for the Transit Connect, while Ram plans on discontinuing the ProMaster City by the end of this year. This officially closes the book on pint-sized vans here in the US.

Image Credit: Ford

Inside sources told Automotive News last month that Ford has abandoned plans for a next-generation Transit Connect. It would have shared its platform with the Maverick and Bronco Sport, and production was supposed to take place at the company's Hermosillo Assembly Plant in Mexico. The Blue-Oval-badged small van will live on in Europe as the Tourneo Connect, which is the result of a joint venture with Volkswagen. Meanwhile, Ram has decided to stop importing the ProMaster City from Europe to the US after the 2022 model year. Just like Ford, the automaker will continue to offer it to European customers.

Image Credit: Ram

These two announcements come after Mercedes made the decision to end production of the Metris after 2023. The Metris never did well in the States, despite being larger than its competitors with a rear-wheel drive setup. As for Nissan, the NV200 was one of the first small vans to leave the US, as it was discontinued in 2021. Chevrolet left the segment even earlier, when it dropped the Nissan-based City Express in 2018.

Of course, the main reason behind the demise of the small van in America is sales numbers. Despite being more fuel efficient alternatives to the larger, more mainstream vans, these vehicles have experienced sizable sales declines in recent years. For example, Ford managed to sell just 26,112 examples of the Transit Connect in 2021, while its larger counterpart sold just under 100,000 units within the same year. Ram saw similar differences between sales for the ProMaster and ProMaster City.

Image Credit: Ford

On the bright side, small vans could get a new lease of life with EV technology. Ford is already offering the e-Transit fullsize van, while GM and Mercedes have announced similar models. Modular platforms for electric cars could easily accommodate a smaller van with improved range, and fewer moving parts in EVs could allow automakers to get creative. Startups like Canoo have already shown what you can do with the additional space that these vehicles can provide. For now, American businesses will have to make do with fullsize vans.

Do you think small vans will be missed in the US?


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