Ford Brand Manager Explains 2021 Chassis Updates

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Earlier this month, Ford announced changes to its 2021 Transit specifically aimed at RV consumers and motor home makers.

Cary Shapiro, Ford brand manager, Transit and Transit Connect, said those changes were made intentionally.

“We prioritize feature changes and additions based on customer feedback,” Shapiro said.

The changes came in three new packages Ford offered.

The Transit’s Motorhome Prep Package now includes adaptive cruise control for added confidence on long trips. Customers also can choose an available new economy-rated version of the 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6 engine, designed to support high frontal area conversions such as larger motorhomes.

The RV Prep Package adds driver-assist features including a side-sensing system and adaptive cruise control, as well as a heavy-duty trailer tow allowing drivers to haul bikes or other toys. Exterior enhancements include front fog lamps, and inside, a four-way manual swivel driver and passenger seats are standard, as is an eight-speaker sound system.

The Adventure Prep Package bundles together popular camper van options including all-wheel drive, 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6, 3.73:1 limited-slip differential rear axle, heavy-duty front axle and privacy glass. Driver-assist features include adaptive cruise control, reverse and side-sensing systems and a blind spot information system. Standard technology includes an 8-inch color touch screen with SYNC 3 and dual USB ports, power point and dual absorbent glass mat batteries.

The 2021 Transit includes new wheel choices and three new exterior colors.

Shapiro explained that Ford received feedback about the durability of their exterior colors, as well as suggestions to freshen up the interior look.

“Most commercial vans are white with durable interiors,” Shapiro said. “Transit is also available as a passenger van that’s popular with large families, so we also offer more ‘retail-friendly’ exterior colors like red and blue, plus the option to upgrade to leather seats.

“We heard from RV manufacturers that their customers want neutral exterior colors that hold up to weeks of travel, as well as homier interior colors. So, in 2020 we updated Transit’s interior palette to be much warmer and more compatible with current motorhome interior designs.”

At the start, that meant an overhaul away from its previous cool gray interior.

“We moved from a cool pewter gray to the warmer dark palazzo gray, for example, for a homier feel,” Shapiro said. “For 2021, we added carbonized gray, avalanche gray and abyss gray exterior colors, all of which look at home on a campsite and still look good even when you haven’t made it to the car wash in weeks.”

Changes were not confined to colors, however. Shapiro said RV consumers have different expectations than other commercial users.

“Most of our commercial fleet customers look at wheels from a purely practical standpoint, whereas our RV and adventure van customers want wheels that have the right ‘look,’” Shapiro said. “So, for the 2021 model year, we’ve added new wheel choices that look more rugged like our 16-inch silver aluminum alloy wheel with blue Ford center cap, 16-inch black aluminum alloy wheel and the cool 16-inch black steel wheel with exposed lug nuts that’s included in the Adventure Prep Package.”

The changes were in the works before the pandemic forced plant shutdowns in the spring.

“While we did shut down production early in the pandemic, this did not affect our planning schedule,” Shapiro said. “All of these updates were slated for the 2021 model year and are rolling out as planned.”

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