Ford to build mystery new electric light commercial vehicle – in Romania

  • £216m investment into Romanian factory for new Ford LCV
  • Will come with conventional engines and 100% electric power
  • At the moment, no-one knows what the new vehicle will be

Ford has announced it is to build a ‘new’ light commercial vehicle at its Craiova Assembly Plant in Romania. Following a $300 million investment (around £216m), production of the new LCV is set to start in 2023, with an all-electric version to follow in 2024.

Ford is keen to point out that this will make Craiova its third electric vehicle plant in Europe, tying in nicely with previous statements announcing that its entire commercial vehicle line-up will be ‘zero-emissions capable’ by 2024. Meaning everything in the range will be available as either a plug-in hybrid or a 100% electric model.

But we’re much more intrigued about what this new light commercial might actual be. It seems to have everyone stumped.

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What is the new Ford light commercial vehicle being built in Romania?

Since Ford has made no official announcement so far, and hasn’t responded to our request for more info, all we can do is speculate at this stage. And the easiest way to start that is what we think it isn’t.

It almost certainly won’t be the Transit large van or Transit Custom medium van. Both of these are built at the Ford Otosan plant in Kocaeli, Turkey – a highly successful, cost-effective factory that will soon also be building the Transporter for Volkswagen (as a version of the next-gen Transit Custom coming in 2023).

Kocaeli is one of the other Ford electric plants coming to Europe, alongside Cologne in Germany.

It’s also unlikely to be the next Ford Ranger – which will also form the basis of the next Volkswagen Amarok – as in February 2021, a huge $1 billion investment into Ford’s South African operations was announced prior to the start of production of those.

This leaves the smaller Transit Connect and Transit Courier, which sort of fits because the Romanian plant is traditionally a small vehicle plant; it currently builds the EcoSport and Puma SUVs, and has previously built Transit Connect models.

At the moment, both the Connect and the Courier are also built in Turkey. But we know that at least one of them – probably the Connect – will be based on the latest Volkswagen Caddy Cargo, and our understanding was that VW would be building them for Ford as well.

It is possible that this isn’t the case, and that Connect / Courier (if the latter continues at all) will be built in Romania instead. We can’t believe Ford would invest all that money just to build the Courier, even as an EV (electric vehicle).

So could it be an all-new LCV?

That’s the other option – an all-new model that doesn’t relate to any of the current Ford line-up. One possibility would be a smaller pickup to sit below the Ranger. It is notable that none of the press material announcing the model uses the word ‘van’.

This would be an unlikely export to the UK, as tax rules mean any pickup that carries less than 1,040kg counts as a car, but such vehicles are popular in Eastern Europe. Wouldn’t it seem odd for Ford to be making such a big fuss to the UK press if this was the case, though?

Same deal with any sort of small commercial 4x4 based on the Puma or the EcoSport. Either one would be very niche.

In other words, it’s all a bit of a mystery. When Ford finally reveals all, we’ll let you know…

Also read:

>> Next-gen Ford Transit Custom on sale in 2023 – and it will be electric

>> Ford’s new electric van plans

>> How Ford plans to sell even more vans in the future

>> New vans coming soon