With the first Ford Transit Connects just arriving in dealerships over the last few weeks, some fleet operators are running into an expensive problem with the otherwise useful delivery van: The cost of replacing or duplicating the Ford of Europe/Tibbe keys. Dealerships must pony up $6,000 or more to make copies of the keys, which are similar to those used on some Jaguars.
Naturally, given the cost of the Tibbe key cutting machine, few dealers are likely to equip their service departments with the expensive key cutter. While some Jaguar dealerships have the key cutters, they charge anywhere from $50 or higher to cut the keys.
The keys (pictured) are used in some Ford products in Europe, where the Transit Connect is assembled. Ford has issued a release to dealers that says that the keys cannot be duplicated without the machine and that the only solution is to make stores buy the devices. Fleet operators, the major customer for the Transit Connect, traditionally keep several sets of keys per van.
Whether Ford will retrofit a more standard North American-market key in the vehicles before it begins production here is up in the air.