An extreme workload saw the model complete a total of three million miles of trials including non-stop figure-of-eight manoeuvres for a month, maintaining maximum speed for two months non-stop – apart from for fresh tanks of fuel – and completing a course littered with deep potholes more than 5,000 times.
This ‘torture testing’, which was designed to simulate a 10-year life cycle in just six months, also featured a test where the Transit Custom was crashed into a 14cm-high kerb at more than 35mph.To test its corrosion resistance it was driven over rough gravel roads and through salty mud baths, and spent time sweating in specially prepared high-humidity chambers. During the programme the van endured an 80-degree temperature variance, from an Arctic -40 Celsius in Finland to an arid 40 Celsius in Dubai.
Ford claims to have analysed data from real-world Transit use gathered from more than 600 vehicles over six million miles and in seven markets around the world. The data helped inform worst-case usage durability targets based on a 10-year, 150,000-mile lifecycle.
“I don’t think many customers would believe what this vehicle has been through,” said Barry Gale, commercial vehicles chief engineer, Ford of Europe. “We inflict the worst possible treatment that a van could endure, and we’re only satisfied when our new vehicle comes through with flying colours.”
“Pushing the van to the limit and beyond helps us to deliver a stronger, more robust product. This translates directly into every-day reliability for the customer, however tough their working environment.”