More and more Middle East ambulance service operators are trusting the safe and efficient operation of their business to the Ford Transit.
Commercial vehicle sales in the GCC saw a 61 per cent boost in volume year-on-year in 2019, driven by an increase in demand for Ford trucks like the Ranger, F-150 and Super Duty.
While volume was driven by a boost in demand for Ford trucks, the Transit witnessed a 48 per cent increase in sales across the GCC in 2019. That echoes results seen in the US where Ford Transit was America’s best-selling van for 2019 and achieved its best sales performance since its introduction in 2014. Ford has now been America’s best-selling commercial van maker for 41 straight years
The Transit has garnered an enviable reputation globally as a versatile work tool given its broad choice of powertrain and wheelbase configurations. In the Middle East, 63 per cent of two-ton Transits sold were destined for conversion into ambulances, and Ford expects this to rise significantly throughout 2020 as more and more ambulance operators turn to the Transit as their vehicle of choice.
“We’re seeing an increasing number of customers across the region turning to the Transit as their trusted ambulance of choice,” said Adriaan Coetzee, director of Fleet and Commercial Vehicles, Ford Direct Markets. “The Transit’s winning combination of engine, drivetrain and available wheelbase configurations make it an obvious choice for ambulance conversions – and the unparalleled aftersales service means total peace-of-mind for operators in the Gulf.”
Dubai-based specialists NAFFCO – one of Ford’s trusted Qualified Vehicle Modifiers – builds and exports more than 3000 ambulances a year to over 100 markets globally, including every country in the GCC.
“The Transit gives us a wide range of customisation and fabrication options for our units, from the Transit 150 up to the 350, and with different types of wheelbase we can select and match any requirements of our customer,” said Huthaifa Hamidi, Export Manager at NAFFCO’s vehicles division. “NAFFCO’s collaboration with Ford gives us a big potential to our customers. We have delivered more than 200 vehicles to our customers who are very satisfied with the service than is provided by Ford.”
Finland-based Profile Vehicles produces 600 ambulances from its three factories in Finland, Estonia and Hungary which it ships to markets across Europe and the Middle East.
“The reason we think Ford Transit is a really good fit for ambulance work is because of the powertrain,” said Narinder Singh, Business Development Executive for Profile Vehicles. “It has a very powerful V6 engine with enough horsepower for the region. We also get great support from Ford which helps a lot.”
Part of Transit’s appeal to converters in the ease with which the vehicle can be transformed. The base vehicle can be ordered with the ambulance prep-package which includes dual heavy-duty batteries, heavy-duty alternator, limited-slip axle, fixed side- and rear-door glass, and a modified vehicle wiring system.
“This saves us, as converters, a lot of time and money when it comes to preparing the vehicle,” said Singh.
In just five years since its introduction to the region, Transit has become the chassis of choice in the region as the industry turns towards the Transit for its built-in safety attributes and convertor-friendly configuration. With significant tenders out for consideration in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Dubai and other GCC markets, Ford expects the Transit to further strengthen its foothold in the region in 2020.