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Exclusive: Ford’s new bus is in Transit

Here comes the bus: Ford’s 12-seat Transit bus is put through its paces at Ford Australia’s proving ground.

12-seat Transit bus under test by Ford ahead of 2015 launch in Australia

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Ford logo17 Mar 2015

By RON HAMMERTON

THE passenger bus version of the new-generation Transit van has been spotted under test at Ford Australia’s You Yangs proving ground near Geelong ahead of its showroom rollout in Australia later this year.

The high-roof 12-seater – dubbed 410L – will complete the fifth-generation Transit range that started with the one-tonne Transit Custom goods van range in early 2014 and continued in September with the bigger, two-tonne VO Transit ‘heavy’ delivery van line-up that is known as Transit Cargo in Europe.

Ford Australia has already confirmed the planned arrival of the passenger version in the second half of the year.

Powered by the same 114kW/385Nm 2.2-litre Duratorq TDCi four-cylinder turbo-diesel engine as other Transits, the vehicle is expected to get a six-speed manual gearbox. An automatic transmission is said to be in the pipeline for all Transits.

As our pictures show, the test van was plastered in camouflage war-paint to disguise the design, but there was no hiding the side windows that indicate the passenger version with multiple rows of seats.

However, it is unclear if the van is being “Australianised” by the local team or if it is the subject of another project for another branch of Ford.

Last year, a Chinese version of the Transit underwent testing at the Australia proving ground.

The new bus will replace the old version that was discontinued last year, and go head-to-head with European and Japanese rivals, as well as recent arrivals from China from manufacturers such as LDV and Foton.

So far this year, Ford has sold 125 of its bigger Transit ‘heavy’ vans – up 62 per cent on the first two months of last year – and 104 one-tonne Transit Customs, up 204 per cent.

For now, the Transit passenger bus is out of stock, and will remain so until the arrival of the new model in the second half of the year.

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