Ford Transit Trail 2023 targets boom in RV ‘van life’ | Daily News Byte


Ford is trying to cash in on the 'van life' craze with the new 2023 Transit Trail van

DETROIT — Ford Motor Want to make “living in a van by the river” more comfortable than the late comedian Chris Farley — cousin of the automaker’s CEO — did in a famous “Saturday Night Live” sketch from the early 1990s .

The Detroit automaker on Thursday unveiled the 2023 Ford Transit Trail Van, a new facelifted model of its full-size van equipped with all-wheel-drive and more rugged, off-road parts for outdoor enthusiasts. It’s also ready for customization, also known as “upfitting,” to turn the vehicle into a living or sleeping space.

Ford is trying to capitalize on a boom in sales of recreational trailers and vehicles, or RVs, during the coronavirus pandemic. Ford is already one of the major companies that supplies trucks and vans to upfitters to turn them into RVs. It has also launched several off-road vehicles over the years such as the Ford Bronco SUV and F-150 Tremor pickup.

“We’re going to have more demand than supply, based on all the numbers we’re seeing,” Ted Cannis, CEO of the automaker’s Ford Pro commercial vehicle business, told CNBC.

2023 Ford Transit Trail


Ford sees the Transit Trail Van as the gateway to the “van life,” a community of travelers who live partially or fully in their vehicles. Photos released Thursday by the automaker show the vehicle submerged in a scenic setting, including a couple who appear to live by the river.

The phrase “living in a van by the river” was popularized by Chris Farley in a 1993 “Saturday Night Live” sketch in which he played Matt Foley, a divorced motivational speaker who lives in a van by the river. He tries to use his situation to persuade two kids — played by David Spade and Christina Applegate — to give up smoking marijuana.

For a time, Ford CEO Jim Farley had a reference to the bit — and his late cousin — in his Twitter profile: “Mustang and racing fan. Happen to love white vans … preferably down by the river.” The auto executive paid other tributes to his cousin on the social media platform through the use of memes and other media.

Cannis said there is no connection between the vehicle and the “SNL” sketch. However, he said Jim Farley asked about joining this segment after a trip to California in 2020.

“He’s very enamored with the space, but it’s really just coincidence in this case,” said Cannis.

The 2023 Ford Transit Trail Van goes on sale in the spring, starting at $65,975. That’s about $15,000 more than a base passenger Transit van. The vehicle will be available in three cargo van configurations, including medium- and high-roof models and a high-roof, extended-length version.

The van will be built at Ford’s Kansas City Assembly Plant in Missouri. The vehicle doesn’t come standard with living or sleeping space, but Transit Trail owners will have access to Ford Pro’s network of upfitters and interior installers.

The vehicle will be sold to consumers as well as commercial upfitters, who Cannis says can spend tens of thousands of dollars customizing such vehicles.

The 2023 Transit Trail comes standard with swivel seats up front, according to Ford. (Preproduction model shown with aftermarket equipment.)


Disclosure: NBCUniversal is the parent company of CNBC and NBC, which airs “Saturday Night Live.”


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