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Ford lures small businesses with graphic Web site to customize Transit Connect


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Ford lures small businesses with graphic Web site to customize Transit Connect

Scott Burgess / The Detroit News

Ford Motor Co. wants to make its Transit Connect even friendlier for small businesses and will announce next week a new Web site for owners to design and order wraps for their work vans.

Wraps are the vinyl graphics that transform a vehicle from white van to rolling billboard. They cost as little as $100 for something simple to $3,500 for a complete vehicle wraparound.

The site, www.fordtransitconnectgraphics.com, was developed by Ford's partner, Original Wraps Inc. It allows owners to use a large sample of graphics or import original images, such as a company logo, to place on a vehicle.

It provides views of the image-wrapped truck from the front, side and rear.

Pictures also can be used to create a new look, though the site warns against using obscene or copyrighted material, noting buyers will forfeit any deposit if they attempt to use property that they do not own.

With nearly limitless options, customers can create just about any look for a Transit Connect.

"There may be no bigger investment a business owner makes than a first impression," Len Deluca, director of Ford commercial vehicles, said in a preview of the release obtained by The Detroit News.

"This Web site provides a great way for a business owner to try out a look before making that investment."

While a mainstay vehicle in Europe for the past 10 years, Ford brought the small work van to the U.S. just last summer. Through March, it had sold more than 13,000 trucks, according to Autodata Corp.

The site was created after Ford launched a similar custom graphics site in November for people who wanted to build graphics for their personal vehicles, said Ford's licensed accessories manager Jim Abraham. More than 9,000 have used that Web site.

Business owners see graphics as a way to get their company's name out and dealers say this is another way to satisfy customers.

"Wrapping a Transit Connect is a great way to advertise and it is a one-time cost, but a lot of people don't know where to go to get it done," said Bob Maxey, owner of Bob Maxey Ford in Detroit.

"Having a Ford Web site where people can design their own custom wrap, and get it done right then and there, is huge."



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