Pewabic Pottery in Detroit has created a traveling exhibition space complete with portable firing kilns in a Ford Transit van. The 116-year-old studio now is able to bring Pewabic to festivals and schools.
“This is something we’d been thinking about doing for almost 30 years,” says Steve McBride, executive director of Pewabic. “We knew we needed to customize the interior of the van to reflect our history while also creating a new kind of experience. We wanted it to be easy for people to walk through, so Ford’s option for a high roof and easy upfitting made choosing a Transit a no-brainer.”
According to Dearborn’s Ford Motor Co., mobile operations are being embraced by small businesses and entrepreneurs as consumers are valuing free time and commercial real estate prices are up, according to Real Capital Analytics. Customers wants the retail and service industries to come to them.
“This trend sits right at the intersection of craft and convenience,” said Sheryl Connelly, chief futurist for Ford. “Clicking a button and getting something shipped to you is something we’re used to, but now we’re quickly moving into ‘click a button, get a service or get a custom experience.’ We all saw this start with the food truck trend, but as we shift away from commodity purchasing and toward personalized retail experiences, we’re seeking a more meaningful connection with brands – one that turns commonplace transactions into memorable moments. So being able to build out a van to suit that experience is a new way to imagine a brand.”
Year-over-year, Transit sales are up 1.9 percent. For fleets in the one-five vehicle range, this increase jumps to 5.3 percent.
Mobile operations provide flexibility for business owners to set up shop near corporate offices, in downtown locations, and at festivals and events around school campuses. Steps are also removed from the purchase process, allowing consumers almost instant access to goods and services.
According to an Out of Home Advertising Association of America Study performed in 2019, 64 percent of U.S. residents age 16 or older noticed a wrapped vehicle advertisement within the past month, and 44 percent noticed one in the past week.
The Transit offers 81.5 inches of interior height, and the 2020 Ford Transit is adding more configuration options, including two wheelbases, three roof heights, three overall lengths, a new crew van seating arrangement, three engine choices, single- or dual-rear wheels, and available all-wheel drive. Fordpass Connect with 4G LTE Wi-Fi offers connectivity for up to 10 devices at a maximum distance of 50 feet from the van. The upgraded van is expected to arrive at Ford dealerships at the end of the year.