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Ford Motor Co. (F - Analyst Report) has launched a new model of Ford Transit Connect Taxi at the 2013 International Association of Transportation Regulators Conference in St. Louis. The revamped model has been designed to meet the company’s light-truck commercial durability standards and will be available from early 2014.

Ford Transit Connect Taxi was launched in 2010 and has gained popularity in many cities. Currently, the 2013 model of Transit Connect is available in 4 versions: XL Van, XLT Van, XLT Wagon and XLT Wagon Premium.

The 2014 model of Ford Transit Connect Taxi promises enhanced performance with a new 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine and six-speed automatic transmission. The combination offers exceptional fuel efficiency, swift response time, sturdiness and low rpm.

The uniqueness of Ford Transit Connect Taxi lies in the compressed natural gas/liquefied petroleum gas engine prep package, which is not offered by any other taxi. Ford Qualified Vehicle Modifier helps in the conversion to CNG or LPG. This will help in reducing fuel expenses. The Ford Qualified Vehicle Modifier can also make the vehicle wheelchair-friendly.

The new Ford Transit Connect Taxi scores high on style and comfort.  It is longer with more interior space and cargo volume of 60.5 cubic feet behind the second row. Moreover, it has a twist-beam rear suspension instead of leaf springs and a solid axle rear suspension used by most competitors.

The Ford Transit Connect Taxi also has a low height, providing ample advertisement space on the roof. Meanwhile, an interior hood release helps in checking the fluid levels easily. Various technologies such as a rear view camera, a 6.5-inch touch-screen display with navigation, and SYNC with MyFord Touch (Ford's voice-activated mobile communications system) have been added to increase the convenience of the driver.

Ford is also coming up with a natural gas version of the widely-popular F-150 pickup trucks in 2014. The upcoming model would be equipped with a prep kit including a 3.7 liter V-6 engine and will have an option to run either on compressed or liquid natural gas or gasoline.

Ford already offers bi-fuel option on its heavy-duty trucks, but the latest addition would mark a stepping-stone for the company into the CNG-enabled light-duty vehicle space, which is currently gaining momentum in the commercial as well as retail markets.

Ford currently carries a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). Other automobile stocks that are worth considering at present are Tesla Motors Inc. (TSLA - Analyst Report), Fuji Heavy Industries Ltd. (FUJHY) and Nissan Motor Co. Ltd. (NSANY). Both Fuji and Nissan carry a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy), while Tesla carries a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).

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