Ford's E-Series Vans Celebrate 50 Years of Success; 2011 Lineup Features Special Anniversary Edition
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DEARBORN, Mich., Sept. 13, 2010; Ford E-Series, America's best-selling full-size van for 31 straight years, marks 50 years of meeting customer needs with production of the 2011 model, enhanced with state-of-the-art technologies at Ford's Ohio Assembly Plant in Avon Lake.
It's all designed to appeal to the enthusiast who recognizes the long-term durability of a van that has maintained a steady presence throughout 50 years of societal change.
"Ford has maintained its level of success for E-Series by continually monitoring its customers' needs and maintaining a high level of quality," said Craig Ruggirello, assistant marketing manager for E-Series. "If there's a secret to its success, that might just be it."
Back in the beginning
A year later Club Wagon arrived, a family-friendly version of the Econoline designed for family transportation along with light towing.
As popular as those series became, they soon weren't enough. What started as a light commercial vehicle had been discovered by campers and other outdoor vacationers. By 1965 the Econoline van - already America's biggest-selling van - had a new teammate: Econoline SuperVan. SuperVan was a full 16 inches longer than any other van, offering room to spare for loads eight-and-a-half-feet long behind the engine compartment.
By 1969, the second-generation Econoline vans had hit the market, modernized with V8 engines and air conditioning and joined by the Club Wagon series, which offered a revolutionary new twin I-beam front suspension for a smooth, quiet ride. In 1971, power steering became an Econoline option, and then the model line expanded again to include the Parcel Delivery Van and a cutaway model for the rapidly growing RV market.
In 1975, when van popularity hit new heights, Ford introduced the third generation of Econoline. The new van featured body-on-frame construction, higher gross vehicle weight ratings, an improved interior package and a wider selection of engines. This design was offered in the same basic configuration for the next 17 years.
Extending its reach
Over the years, Ford kept tabs on the wants and needs of its customers. In 1976, for instance, the Econoline made a youthful statement with the Cruising Van, a factory-customized model with mod paint schemes, porthole panel windows and a carpeted interior.
Over the next few years, the improvements continued. In 1981, higher payloads appeared on most models, and halogen headlamps became standard. In 1987, an eight-passenger Club Wagon was introduced. Then in 1992, the entire line got a redesign.
A fourth generation - and more
The fourth generation of Econoline vans and Club Wagons were completely modernized after 17 years - redesigned aerodynamically and stylistically to meet the needs of the '90s. Airbags were added, the sheet metal was new. There was new front end styling and dramatic improvements in quietness. Popularity of the full-size vans continued to soar. In fact, MOTOR TREND magazine named the 1992 Ford Econoline Chateau Club Wagon its Truck of the Year. In 1997, the line was refreshed with overhead-cam engines, including the only V10 in the segment.
Taking on the new millennium
For 2001, Ford introduced the E-Traveler model, keeping up with the increasingly crowded market of SUVs and passenger vans, and debuting the shorter, snappier "E" version of the name. "E-Series" replaced "Econoline" in company literature, and Ford kept close tabs on an ever-changing market to make certain its long-standing product would thrive.
Then for 2008, Ford streamlined the E-Series, reintroducing the series as a strictly commercial vehicle and revamping the offerings to meet its emerging fleet customer needs. Cargo space was increased. Chassis and suspension improvements led to a more solid ride and also resulted in best-in-class capability. The front end design was inspired by Ford Super Duty to emphasize that this was a Built Ford Tough van.
For 2011, the E-Series' winning streak continues - it proudly carries the title of America's best-selling full-size van for 31 consecutive years. Available technologies like Ford Work Solutions, SYNC voice-activated communications and entertainment system, and a Navigation System with HD Radio(TM) bring E-Series squarely into the future, setting the stage for both productivity and customer satisfaction.
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 159,000 employees and about 70 plants worldwide, the company's automotive brands include Ford, Lincoln and Mercury, production of which has been announced by the company to be ending in the fourth quarter of 2010. The company provides financial services through Ford Motor Credit Company. For more information regarding Ford's products, please visit www.ford.com.