• Five small-business owners to receive customized van at Transit Connect’s U.S. debut at the Chicago Auto Show in February 2009
  • Compact, versatile Transit Connect van is perfect for small businesses on the go

DEARBORN, Mich., Jan. 8, 2009 – Five lucky small-business owners have each won a 2010 Ford Transit Connect van as grand-prize winners in the company’s “Connect with Connect” contest.

The versatile compact Transit Connect, voted Europe’s Most Reliable Van by Fleet News in 2007, will make its U.S. debut in February 2009 at the Chicago Auto Show. With up to 143 cubic feet of cargo space and nearly limitless opportunities for customization, it is perfect for small businesses on the go.

The five winners, who will be presented their personalized vans at the Chicago Auto Show, were chosen from among nearly 1,000 small-business owners around the country who entered the contest to win a Transit Connect. The entrants answered questions on how they would use the new vehicle to improve their day-to-day operations and explained the short-comings, if any, of their current vehicles.

“From the wide range of small business owners who entered the contest, we’re confident that Transit Connect will serve an unmet need among this strong customer base,” said Damoni Hurt, Transit Connect brand manager. “It drives like a car, works like a van and is as tough as a truck.”

Winner Jen Kiblinger of Cincinnati, Ohio, owns Circle Tail, Inc., a non-profit organization that provides assistance dogs to people with a variety of disabilities. She needs a fuel efficient vehicle with easy unloading and loading capability that can better advertise her company.

The Transit Connect, with its estimated 19 mpg city and 24 mpg highway and second-row dual sliding doors, will make her job much easier. And the customization will raise awareness of her services.

“The less money that goes to gas, the more that literally goes to the dogs,” Kiblinger wrote in her essay. “We offer valuable services to people with disabilities and to our community … we really need to increase our presence in the community so people can take advantage of the services we offer.”

Winner Matthew Wade, owner of Ten Mile Creek Kayak of Frisco, Colo., offers outdoor enthusiasts everything they need to get on the water, from safety instruction to assistance in purchasing the perfect kayak.

“I’ve been using my personal vehicle, which isn’t designed to accommodate people and gear safely and effectively,” Wade wrote in his entry

The Transit Connect, with its 180-degree rear doors and low-load deck, will make his loading and unloading a breeze. The additional cargo and passenger space will ensure everyone – and everything – will make it to the river safely and securely.

“My kayak shop has been a dream of mine for quite some time,” he continued. “I envision the Transit Connect having a sweet kayak rack on the roof, with my shop logo wrapped all around the body for great advertising.”

The other grand-prize contest winners are Omar Herrera, of Woodbury, N.Y., owner of The Maid Pros, a residential cleaning service; Kimberlee Mitchell of Ladera Ranch, Calif., owner of Boo Boo Busters, a full-service baby proofing and pet proofing company for family and businesses; and Jerry Buffman of Ann Arbor, Mich., owner of Dummies on the Run, which provides CPR and first aid instruction.

While the contest itself will heighten awareness of the Transit Connect, said Hurt, word-of-mouth has been the best advertisement of all.

“There’s been a buzz about the Transit Connect – people can’t wait to see it,” he said. “We’ve been getting a lot of questions – mainly, ‘When is it coming here?’ and ‘How can I get one?’”

Transit Connect is built in Kocaeli, Turkey, at Ford’s most advanced light commercial vehicle assembly plant. It will be available in select North American markets in mid-2009.


About Ford Motor Company
Ford Motor Company, a global automotive industry leader based in Dearborn, Mich., manufactures or distributes automobiles across six continents. With about 224,000 employees and about 90 plants worldwide, the company's core and affiliated automotive brands include Ford, Lincoln, Mercury, Volvo and Mazda. The company provides financial services through Ford Motor Credit Company. For more information regarding Ford's products, please visit