Ford Motor Company currently is without a sedan or hatchback for sale here in the United States. Ten years ago, that would have been seen as a suicidal move for any marque. But with the segment eroding, and the remaining share only being left to its biggest players – Japanese and Korean models like the Hyundai Sonata and Toyota Camry these days – the American automaker had to rethink its entry products. And that entry product is now the Ford Maverick. For the 2022 model year Ford lineup, the new Maverick pickup truck is actually the most affordable model of the entire portfolio, with the EcoSport utility vehicle being cut from the American lineup.
But is it fair to say that the Ford Maverick is “replacing” entry level passenger cars and utility vehicles, as some have eluded to? Turns out that’s a misconception, according to Hau Thai-Tang, chief product platform and operations officer at Ford Motor Company.
2022 Ford Maverick: Rethinking The Entry Vehicle
“No! It’s not (replacing the Ford Fusion),” said Hau Thai-Tang in an interview with MC&T. “We looked at it as passenger vehicles are getting very commoditized, it’s difficult for us to make money, how else can we use that capital and engineering capacity? We decided let’s play to our strengths.”
Considering that America loves pickup trucks, and that Ford outsells any other brand for 40-plus years, there’s an opportunity to expand on that competency (though if we’re going by automaker, it’s General Motors that takes the truck sales crown).
“What are we good at? Trucks. What do we need? An affordable, entry vehicle to bring first time buyers into the showroom,” he said.
The 2022 Ford Maverick managed to rack up some 100,000 reservations ahead of its launch, which is happening now. Most reservations are coming from Los Angeles, followed by Orlando, Florida, and then San Fransisco. Houston, Texas rounds out the top four spots. Coastal markets tend to favor import brands, so this could be considered to be a major inroads in swinging momentum towards the home team.
Possible Opportunities For An Even Smaller Truck
The Ford Maverick is indeed the smallest new pickup truck for sale in America, but that doesn’t mean the truck is necessarily small. In fact, its overall length rivals that of a full-size sedan, such as the popular Dodge Charger muscle car. So we asked Hau Thai-Tang if there’s opportunity to go even smaller.
“Maybe,” he said. “There’s certainly in other markets like South America and South Africa. But (the Maverick) is a great story. We leveraged the Bronco Sport (platform), we did all of our Built Ford Tough validation on it, and the decision to go full hybrid eliminates the decision for first time buyers on fuel efficiency and operational costs.”
The 2022 Ford Maverick starts at $19,995, plus a $1,495 destination charge.