Ford Defends Durability of Transit Connect, Warning of “Misleading” Statistics
By Andy Bannister
The new-to-America Ford Transit Connect has been on sale in Europe for some years, and may have a doubtful long-term durability record, according to a newly-published British snapshot of vehicle roadworthiness after three years.
Ford has, however, strongly disputed the validility of the findings.
The Transit Connect was the most troublesome vehicle in terms of failing a maintenance test all vehicles over three years old have to undergo in the United Kingdom annually, statistics released under the UK Freedom of Information Act revealed.
Known as the MoT (Ministry of Transport) test, vehicles legally need to pass this yearly assessment of roadworthiness carried out by garages across the country. It consists of a long list of statutory checks for overall wear and tear, and a pass ensures the vehicle is safe to continue using.
A BBC investigation, using powers under the Act and concentrating on vehicles selling over 20,000 units in Britain annually, uncovered the figures, which relate to vehicles tested in 2007. They show the Turkish-built Transit Connect was the worst model among volume-selling cars and vans for flunking its MoT test.
For vehicles first used in 2004 and facing their first MoT assessment in 2007, Ford’s light van had the single highest failure rate at 30.5%. Its bigger panel van brother, simply known as the Ford Transit, didn’t fare much better, scoring 26.3%.
The wooden spoon for cars went to Renault’s Megane, some 28.1% of which failed the test, with a number of GM Europe Vauxhalls (the Vectra, Corsa and Meriva) Peugeot’s 307 and Renault’s Scenic also scoring poorly.
The best-performing vehicle was the Toyota Corolla with an 11.2% failure rate. Other 2004-registered cars which did better-than-average included Honda’s Civic and Jazz (Fun), the Toyota Yaris and (some consolation here) Ford’s Fiesta.
However, the Government-controlled Vehicle and Operator Services Agency, which initially strongly resisted publishing the data until prodded by the country’s Information Commissioner, has cautioned that the release of this information might be confusing.
Ford UK has gone further, describing the list as “misleading”. It says the test just measures roadworthiness and takes no account of how and when the owner maintains and services the vehicle.
It goes on to blame the high mileage many Ford vans do in company fleets, adding a lack of personal attachment between the driver and the vehicle means maintenance is often neglected.
Ford says in the real world, the Transit Connect benchmarks well against competing vans from other manufacturers, and buyers should not fear unreliability, citing consistently high repeat sales as evidence that most customers are satisfied.
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