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Ford Transit Connect grows link between U.S., Turkey

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Ford Transit Connect grows link between U.S., Turkey

In May, a Ford Transit Connect commercial van rolled off the line at the Ford Otosan factory in Kocaeli, Turkey, and up the gangplank of a waiting transport ship bound for America.

It was the first vehicle in the first shipment of automobiles from Turkey to the United States, and the significance of the moment was evident from the beaming grin on the face of the driver, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

On this side of the Atlantic, there was no such fanfare. With industry observers watching and waiting for the first Chinese-made cars to arrive in the U.S., the first Turkish-made models slipped in largely unnoticed.

But in the four months since that first van rolled off the Grand Benelux, the Transit Connect has exceeded Ford's expectations. Sales have been brisk, with dealers hard-pressed to keep the compact van on their lots -- a win for both Ford and Turkey.

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