“Five new Transit Connects, five satisfied business owners and we have not sold a single vehicle.” [xfloat=right]http://www.cleanmpg.com/photos/data/507/Transit_Connect_-_Matt_Wade_-_10-mile_Creek.jpg[/xfloat]Mike Sirach and Wayne Gerdes – CleanMPG – Feb. 14, 2009 10-Mile Creek Kayak’s brand new Ford Transit Connect. 2009 Ford Transit Connect is rated at 22/25 city/highway on the 08 EPA. Chicago -- While in the stands awaiting the 2009 Ford Chicago Autoshow presentation, we suspected there would be an F150 truck announcement of some sort which was the case as seen with the new 2010 Ford Harley Davidson™ F-150. There was also the all-new Ford Taurus SHO with a 365 HP ECOBoosted V-6, available as an AWD and a six speed gearbox. Both yielded little in the way of a response from the CleanMPG contingent covering the show... What we did not expect however was to have a front row seat to a somewhat emotional and by far the best presentation at the Chicago Auto Show. Jim Farley, Ford’s group VP of Marketing and Communications introduced 5 small-business owners as winners of customized, work ready Transit Connects setup for their specific businesses. Immediately afterwards, the 5 brand new Transit Connects with sharp exterior graphics were presented. After the vehicles were driven on stage, the new owners gave an emotional testimonial about how the utility of their new vehicles will help their businesses prosper. And two of the winner’s emotions got the best of them which really made an impact to those of us that were there The winners up close and personal... [xfloat=left]http://www.cleanmpg.com/photos/data/507/Boo_Boo_Busters_2.jpg[/xfloat]Boo Boo Busters -- Ladera Ranch, CA. Kimberlee Mitchell wants to make the world safer for babies, and she’s succeeding – one house at a time. The owner of Boo Boo Busters, a full-service babyproofing company, will help her company not only better manage inventory, but also get the job done quickly and efficiently. In the case of Boo Boo Busters, motherhood was the impetus behind the birth of the business, Mitchell said. After her first child was born, she realized her house seemed almost booby-trapped with items dangerous to children. Since she couldn’t find the help she needed, she used her journalism background, did her research, and started a company of her own. Her services, she soon found, were in great demand. “Since I founded Boo Boo Busters in 2002, we’ve babyproofed hundreds of thousands of homes in L.A., Orange and San Diego counties,” she said. “In an effort to educate new parents about home safety issues, I serve as a guest speaker at local hospitals, I’m a safety expert for local and national news organizations, and I’ve been a featured guest on various TV shows and in film.” Her dream? To end the unintentional injuries that occur in homes that are not properly babyproofed. The Transit Connect, she said, will help bring her that much closer. Kimberlee’s Transit Connect was outfitted with custom shelving of every size to hold tools, hardware and of course Babyproofing supplies. [xfloat=left]http://www.cleanmpg.com/photos/data/507/Circle_Tree_2.jpg [/xfloat]Circle Tail, INC. -- Pleasant Plain, OH. Jen Kiblinger’s life has gone to the dogs – and she couldn’t be happier. As vice president of Circle Tail, Inc., a nonprofit organization that provides high-quality assistance dogs to people with mobility, hearing, neurological and psychiatric disabilities, Kiblinger spends much of her time transporting cargos of active canines. Owning a Ford Transit Connect, she said, will ease many of the complexities the group faces on a daily basis. Circle Tail, Inc., founded in 1997 by Marlys Staley, also provides dog adoptions, obedience training and boarding. It’s one of those rare entities that benefits both people and animals, said Kiblinger. “There’s never been a time when I didn’t love animals,” she said. “And Circle Tail offers the best of both worlds – helping animals while helping people, too. We provide assistance dogs at no cost to the individual, and we offer services to strengthen the human-canine bond so dogs are more likely to stay with their families instead of being given up.” But all those trips back and forth in the group’s old minivan have taken their toll. The Transit Connect, said Kiblinger, is a perfect solution – from its size to its maneuverability. Jen’s Transit Connect was outfitted with a large number of dog crates and shelving to store dog supplies including collars, leashes, toys and dog food of all types. [xfloat=left]http://www.cleanmpg.com/photos/data/507/Dummies_on_the_Run_2.jpg[/xfloat]Dummies on the Run -- Ann Arbor, MI. Jerry Buffman, owner of Dummies on the Run, is one smart cookie. She knew that Ford’s Transit Connect was the perfect vehicle for her mobile cardiopulmonary resuscitation and first-aid Instruction Company the moment she saw it. Now, she couldn’t be more excited to own one. Buffman performs all of her classes on site – whether the venue is a child care center or assisted living facility. In doing so, she needs to pack everything necessary for a class – like breathing shields, books, and bandages -- along with bulky duffel bags filled with CPR dummies. She’s adamant that her students have the opportunity and the resources to learn – no matter what type of personal challenges that represents. “One unique aspect of my business is I don’t like putting anyone on the spot,” she said. “So I use one dummy per person so they can concentrate on learning the skills and not worry about someone watching them. Most of my classes are about 20 students, so I’m packing 20 dummies right there. And if I’m teaching infant CPR, that’s two dummies – an infant and adult – per person. “Right now, I’m just cramming everything in,” she said. “And that’s not good, because if you get to a class and you find out your package of breathing shields is empty, you panic. With the Transit Connect, there’ll be more room, easier loading – I can carry more inventory, so if I need something, it’ll be right there. It just has so much potential.” Jerry’s Transit Connect was customized with more open storage space for the quick ingress and egress to remove the dummies and her gear bags. [xfloat=left]http://www.cleanmpg.com/photos/data/507/Transit_Connect_-_Matt_Wade_-_10-mile_Creek_2.jpg[/xfloat]Ten Mile Creek Kayak -- Frisco, CO. For Matthew Wade, starting a kayak business was a dream come true. Now Wade, owner of Ten Mile Creek Kayak, says that winning a Transit Connect is just the icing on the cake. Wade almost missed his chance to win the Transit Connect. “I didn’t find out about the contest until the last day,” said Wade, also a professional skier. “I really had to scramble to get everything in. But everything had been going so well; I had some really good karma going – I thought, ‘Why not?’ It was so worth it. I’m really excited – you have no idea.” “My van is not designed to carry passengers and cargo,” he said. “And I’m not about to take chances and play ‘what if.’ This way I can transport all the gear and the customers safely.” The business that he started in May is thriving, he said, and having a customized vehicle will help him expand – allowing him to travel further while promoting his business at the same time. “The kayaks are so colorful, and I want to get a really cool wrap, so that when I arrive somewhere, it’s like a traveling show. A lot of people around here know me, just from skiing, and I get a lot of positive PR. This will really put the limelight on my business, and I know that will carry over to the Transit Connect.” Matt’s Transit Connect was outfitted with Kayak clothing storage in mind and done so everything he needs can be carried in one trip vs. two previously. [xfloat=left]http://www.cleanmpg.com/photos/data/507/Maid_Pros_2.jpg[/xfloat]The Maid Pros -- Woodbury, NY. Omar Herrera, owner of The Maid Pros residential cleaning service is thrilled about winning a new Ford Transit Connect. Growing a start-up business can be tough. You need to get the word out to the people who need your services, and that’s not always easy. With a customized Transit Connect, Herrera said, customers will know who he is and what he does. “The Transit Connect, really, will be like a moving billboard,” he said. “And it’s a professional image, which is what I want to convey – just like the big franchises. When I’m parked at a house, people will know why I’m there and what I’m doing. If I go shopping, and leave it parked at the mall, people can see the number and remember the name.” “I’m using my own vehicle now, and it’s my only source of getting around,” Herrera said. “I have to fit in all my cleaning solutions, all my tools, and then I have to unload it every night. I wanted a van, but not too big of a van – the Transit Connect is perfect.” Herrera has big plans – expanding his business, adding more staff. The Transit Connect, he said, will help pave the way. Omar’s Transit Connect was equipped with shelving to hold cleaning supplies of all sizes and types plus home cleaning tools of the trade including vacuum cleaners, mops and buckets. In Chicago, Ford’s Jim Farley introducing the Transit Connects to their new owners. ______________Jen Kiblinger_______Jerry Buffman____Omar Herrera____Ford’s Jim Farley____Matthew Wade______Kimberlee Mitchell [flash]http://www.youtube.com/v/a4dqKiWTcJk&hl=en&fs=1[/flash] Ford’s Transit Connect -- It drives like a car, works like a van and is as tough as a truck. The compact Transit Connect includes over 143 cubic feet of cargo space and nearly limitless opportunities for customization. More than 600,000 Ford Transit Connects have been sold to customers in 58 countries and on four continents since 2003. To fulfill the needs of small business owners in the United States, Ford’s Global Product Development team quickly adapted the Transit Connect for the American market. Transit Connects capability begins with its capacity. Split rear cargo doors open at a standard 180 degrees, or an optionally available 255 degrees. When open, these doors provide access to 52.1 inches of available load height. Lift-over height is less than two feet, when the Transit Connect is unloaded. Once inside, the cargo area opens up to 59.1 inches of floor to ceiling load height. The load width is 47.8 inches, between the wheel arches. Load length is a generous 72.6 inches or more than six feet of cargo floor space. Dual sliding rear side doors provide wide access to the generous cargo space as well. Commercial users are provided a cargo payload of 1,600 pounds. Ford’s Work Solution and Crew Chief keeps track of your business The Ford Work Solutions is an in-dash computer that allows small business owners to run their enterprises from inside the Transit Connect. Applications include downloading customer or product information, remotely accessing an office work station computer, sending and receiving text messages, navigating job or delivery locations with the Garmin navigation function and connecting with customers via hands-free cel phone functionality. With a bright touch screen, for easy use and visibility, the in-dash computer runs the Windows CE 6.0 operating system. Word processing, spreadsheet, calculator and calendar applications are all included. With applicable subscriptions, the system can provide users with Internet access, remote document access and Garmin Online services such as traffic, weather and fuel prices. The in-dash computer enables the availability of Tool Link, by DeWalt™. Using Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) tags that adhere to the tools or objects themselves, Tool Link allows the Transit Connect Cargo to be scanned for the appropriate tools and inventory items, prior to leaving for the jobsite or route. In addition, Tool Link can verify that these tools or items are secure at the end of the day and available for tomorrow’s next job. Crew Chief™ is a tool for fleet managers to track vehicles, staff and Transit Connect diagnostics. This system, not available in conjunction with the in-dash computer, provides a fleet manager with the ability to track a given vehicles location, speed, idle time, fuel usage and more than 30 diagnostic measures. Functions and reporting can be tailored to meet the specific needs of fleets large or small. Crew Chief has “geo-fencing” capability, allowing a fleet manager to set geographic or time of use boundaries. The US version of the Transit Connect will be produced in the European Ford Otosan assembly plant in Kocaeli/Turkey. This plant has already been producing the European Ford Transit/Tourneo Connect product family since its launch in late 2002. Starting at $21,475 including destination, the new to the US Transit Connect may be the next vehicle of choice to a wide range of American small business owners.