It Exists: Ford Transit Connect Passenger Van
Most people know that Ford imports the Transit Connect from Turkey as a passenger van, rips out the seats and windows at the port, and throws them away. Most people also know that this is due to a bit of legal minutiae called the “Chicken Tax.” This has been well-covered elsewhere, but the gist is as follows.
In the 1960s, we made a lot of chickens. And VW made a lot of flatbed pickup truck versions of its flower power-style Bus. The Germans got mad that we were exporting so many chickens, so they started taxing them. Because we all know “an eye for an eye” is the only diplomatic policy that really works, the US retaliated by taxing light trucks. This put American farmers out of the German chicken game and foreign automakers out of the light truck game.
Fast-forward to now, and Ford – a domestic brand – is the only automaker who now imports a light truck: the Transit Connect. Everyone else builds them in house right here in the non-union US of A, except for the Honda Ridgeline, which comes from hell.
Anyway, to avoid the Chicken Tax, Ford imports the Transit Connect as a passenger vehicle (with seats) and rips them out at the port, which makes it a commercial vehicle. No tax, and everyone is happy – especially the port workers who probably have home theatres furnished with Ford Transit Connect rear bench seats.
But did you know that, once in a rare while, they leave the seats and windows in?
That’s right. There’s a passenger version of the Ford Transit Connect, and there has been since it debuted in 2010. No one buys this vehicle, but it exists for reasons unknown to anyone. It’s not really a minivan competitor, since it only has five seats. Yet it’s sort of a minivan competitor because it’s heinously expensive: a decently-equipped Transit Connect – including the $65 key fob option – runs close to $27,000 with shipping. Add rear seat DVD players and a (surprisingly attractive) roof cargo basket, and you’re pushing $30k.
At that price, I think it’s better for everyone if they take the seats out.