Ford Doubles Down on Small Business Owners

The Ford Atlas Concept Truck drops from the ceiling while construction men look on (presumably in awe)
The Ford Atlas Concept Truck drops from the ceiling while construction men look on (presumably in awe)

After a few years dedicated to launching and promoting compact cars, Ford has turned its focus to the other side of the spectrum: vehicles to get the job done. Especially if that job involves hauling stuff or people.

While you’re probably more likely to find news about super efficient small cars on TriplePundit, there is no denying that there are certain jobs that require a bigger vehicle.

Ford has been the leader in commercial vehicle sales for 36 years, with its popular F150 truck. On Tuesday at the annual North American International Auto show in Detroit – the automaker announced that it is betting big on the commercial market in 2014 with the launch of the Transit family (a van and wagon) and the Ford Atlas – a new truck.

Commercial vehicles (like trucks, cargo vans and chassis cabs) represent 29 percent of global industry sales, a huge opportunity. This market is also projected to grow 28 percent by 2017 in Asia and the U.S. Many of those buyers are contractors, farmers, store-owners construction workers and plumbers – folks that need to do a lot of hauling as a part of their jobs. Small business owners make big business for Ford.

The Ford Atlas has a number of environmentally friendly features like Ford EcoBoost, which gives efficient engines more power and a front spoiler to make the truck more aerodynamic, improving efficiency.

Ford’s a new Transit Connect Van and Wagon offer big fuel efficiency increases too – as much as 25 percent improvement in fuel economy over other vehicles in its class. The fuel efficiency is expected to exceed 30 MPG, (exact figures will not be available until the van reaches market at the end of the year.)

Ford has made a $1b investment in re-tooling a Kansas assembly line to produce the new vehicle, and will add 1,600 new hourly employees to its payroll to build these new vehicles.

Travel and accommodations to NAIAS in Detroit were covered by Ford.

[Image credit: Jen Boynton]

Jen Boynton

Jen Boynton is editor in chief of TriplePundit and editorial director at 3BL Media. With over 6 million annual readers, TriplePundit is the leading publication on sustainable business and the Triple Bottom Line. Prior to TriplePundit, Jen received an MBA in Sustainable Management from the Presidio Graduate School. In her work with TriplePundit she's helped clients from SAP to PwC to Fair Trade USA with their sustainability communications messaging. When she's not at work, she volunteers as a CASA -- court appointed special advocate for children in the foster care system. She enjoys losing fights with toddlers and eating toast scraps. She lives with her family in sunny San Diego.

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