Ford Motor Co. has added nearly 1,000 employees at its Kansas City Assembly Plant, in Kansas City, MO. The workers will help build the new Ford Transit van, set to go on sale this summer.

The company also expects to hire an additional 175 employees by March to help meet expected demand.

The Transit eventually will replace Ford’s E-Series.

(To see Ford’s Chris Brewer explain the benefits of the Transit, click here)

“For decades, Ford E-Series has been the leading choice among business owners for a tough, durable cargo vehicle that also delivers unmatched flexibility and capability,” said John Ruppert, Ford general manager, commercial vehicle sales and marketing. “Transit is the natural successor to E-Series, taking flexibility and capability to new levels, while also adding in superior fuel efficiency.”

The Kansas City Assembly Plant also builds F-150 and will begin producing the all-new 2015 F-150 in the first quarter of 2015.

Ford said jobs at the plant have increased more than 35% year-over-year, with approximately 3,400 employees in 2013 and more than 4,600 who will report for work by March. The new jobs also make Ford the top auto employer in Kansas City.

Overall this year, Ford is creating more than 5,000 new jobs in the U.S., including 3,300 salaried positions. It is the largest hiring initiative for the company since 2000, and builds on more than 14,000 jobs Ford has created during the past two years in North America.

Cargo volume for the Transit ranges from about 250 cu. ft. to almost 500 cu. ft. – more than twice the volume of the standard E-Series. Ford said it will achieve an average of 25% better fuel economy and haul at least 300 lbs. more than the E-Series.