Photo courtesy of Ford.

Photo courtesy of Ford.

Ford Motor Co. has begun producing its 2015 Transit full-size vans at its Kansas City assembly plant as its E-Series replacement and one of the most hotly anticipated commercial vehicles.

The first Transit vans rolled off the assembly line today, as Ford celebrated the economic benefits of the vehicle's production to the commercial vehicle market and the local community. Ford invested $1.1 billion in the plant and added 2,000 jobs.

"Our investment in Kansas City Assembly Plant for Transit production is about delivering world-class commercial vans for a new generation of commercial customers," said Joe Hinrichs, Ford's president of The Americas.

Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon called the Transit a "historic investment in Missouri." Ford plans to produce about 134,000 units annually, according to Anthony Piaza, Ford's assistant brand manager for the vehicle.

The order bank for the van opened in early March for fleet purchasers, and the first Transit vans will arrive in June. The Transit will be offered in 62 configurations, including three roof heights, two wheelbases in van and wagon, and three body lengths.

Initial versions of the long wheelbase Transit will arrive with a high and medium roof. The van will be offered in the XL and XLT trim levels.

Ford will offer three engines with the Transit, including the standard 3.7L V-6, the 3.5L EcoBoost V-6 offered with the F-150, and a 3.2L inline five Power Stroke diesel engine. The engines are paired with a six-speed automatic transmission and rear-wheel drive.

At the NAFA Institute and Expo earlier this month, Adrian Steel showed two Transit vans equipped with its upfit products. Adrian Steel has opened a Kansas City operation to accommodate fleet demand for the van.

Photo courtesy of Ford.

Photo courtesy of Ford.

Originally posted on Automotive Fleet