Ford ticked off the 1 million mark for the Model A and the Mustang with great celebration; other models achieving production milestones get less public notice. Somewhere out there, even if it’s in a salvage yard, is the millionth Ford Explorer, for example. Ford did conspicuously pay attention this week, when the millionth Ford Transit van produced in North America rolled off the line at the Kansas City Assembly Plant, a silver high-top unit with extended wheelbase destined for a California dealership – and not, we say a little wistfully, for the collections at The Henry Ford in Dearborn.
This is serious stuff. After all, more than 8 million copies of the Transit van have been produced worldwide across four model generations, making it the third-best-selling light van in automotive history. Closer to home, the Transit reached the 1 million mark in North American sales just seven years after stateside production commenced, a pace that makes the Transit the continent’s top-selling van, commanding 57 percent of the North American market. When you factor in what used to be called the Econoline, Ford has led the United States in commercial van sales for 42 straight years. Kansas City will go to town in another sense later this year, when production of Ford’s new all-electric E-Transit gets underway.