Ford’s sales success with the Maverick pickup has been undeniable. But if you’re in need of more evidence, the automaker has begun notifying dealerships to stop taking reservations on the base hybrid model because it doesn’t even think it can keep up with the existing backlog.
Word on the street is that Ford’s new “compact” pickup has been such as smashing success that the automaker is fresh out of product — at least in hybrid guise.
While the 2.0-liter turbo offers substantially more power and towing capability, the default 2.5-liter Duratec four-cylinder gasoline engine with a hybrid electric motor still produces an agreeable 191 horsepower and 173 lb-ft of torque. Mated to Ford’s e-CVT gearbox, the Environmental Protection Agency suggest the pickup delivers 42 mpg around town and 33 mpg on the highway. Considering that the vehicle retails just below $20,000 (before you account for taxes and dealer fees), offers a conservatively sized truck bed, and seats five, it’s little wonder that Ford’s tapped out in an era where people are being forced to tighten their belts.
Ford has announced that it will be introducing a new pickup next week, effectively making this the pre-engagement ring of automotive commitments. Anticipated to be a compact truck priced to contend with tougher times, the model has fittingly been named the Maverick. The title harkens back to the 1970s and the 2-door coupe (later sedan) equipped with a lineup of “Thriftpower” motors that originally had the name emblazoned on the rear deck with a somewhat confusing cattle theme.
While designed in roughly the same spirit as the original, the modern Maverick is a different animal and unlikely to come with the optional Windsor V8 allotted to the coupe. We’ve been told it’s to be produced alongside the smaller Bronco Sport in Mexico and likely share a platform. That means powertrains will probably be limited to 1.5 or 2.0-liter Ecoboost motors with a maximum possible output of 245 horsepower.
Americans love their pickups but the segment’s sizing has adopted the same methodologies favored by the McNugget industry. Medium-sized trucks are now supersized, leaving full-sized pickups in danger of developing their own gravitational fields. However, it wasn’t all that long ago when the North American market was awash with compact pickups like the original Ford Ranger, Chevrolet S-10, and numerous Japanese alternatives — including the legendary Toyota Hilux (which we just called “the Pickup”). Dodge even had the Dakota for customers who liked D.I.Y. projects but wanted something a little larger and more capable of hauling the necessary materials in a single trip.
Back then, the competition was incredibly fierce. But club cabs gradually evolved into crew cabs and, before anybody knew what happened, every single pickup left on the market had become monstrously large. Though it wasn’t like that everywhere in the world. Plenty of markets still appreciate the handyman’s pickup and Latin America is about to receive an updated one from Fiat Chrysler Automobiles. It’s called the 2021 Ram 700 and serves as the spiritual successor of the Ram 50/Mitsubishi Mighty Maxx.
Animosity continues to linger from Ford’s decision to cull its low-priced passenger car models… perhaps even here at TTAC World Headquarters. Few would claim that the Ford EcoSport makes an attractive bottom rung on a product ladder that increasingly caters to the middle-class truck or SUV buyer.
That said, CEO Jim Hackett’s promise not to abandon low-end buyers seems to carry weight. Dealers have begun whispering about an upcoming product that should start just below $20,000, and comes with a bed.
No one wants to fail, and certainly no one wants to be handed a steep bill for their failure. With that in mind, Volkswagen is leaning towards the smaller of the two potential pickups it’s foisted upon American auto show goers in recent years.
That means you’re far less likely to see a Tanoak at your local dealer, and much more likely to see a Tarok taking its place. Or, equally as likely, you’ll see nothing at all.
You’ve seen this vehicle on these digital pages before, but Volkswagen now plans to bring its Brazil-bound Tarok unibody pickup to the United States … if only for an appearance at the New York Auto Show.
Yes, the Tarok’s role this week and next is to give U.S. consumers a come-hither look and whisper, “See anything you like, boys? You let me know.” In this case, “me” means VW brass, who have a decision to make.
True compact pickups don’t exist in any showroom near you or I, but that doesn’t stop some of us — your author, for example — from eyeballing the black, regular cab Mazda B2600 4×4 that just blasted past on a snowy city street, motoring unimpeded to its destination like a boss that it is. (This recent event may have elicited a lustful “Mmmmm…” from yours truly.)
While we can’t scratch that compact pickup itch at any new car retailer, that won’t be the case forever. In two year’s time, we could have two compacts on the market. The question today is: will there be a receptive audience when they arrive?
Following rumors, spy photos, and vague language on the part of Ford brass, the Blue Oval automaker has admitted a new, smaller model is set to join its truck lineup. The vehicle in question will give consumers something else to think about than just Ranger, F-150, and Super Duty.
It’s a well-known fact that Islamic State fighters enjoy using hardy Toyota pickups in their pursuit of cleansing the Middle East of people even slightly different from themselves, but they’ll need to restock after last week.
Recent Allied military advances, including a huge, weeks-long push that liberated the Iraqi city of Fallujah, have ISIS on the run, and the U.S. Air Force’s best aerial hardware just caught a huge number of their vehicles making a break for it.
The results, as Defense Department video of the strike shows, wasn’t pretty — for the insurgents or their trucks.
Few will be surprised to hear that Chrysler Group will end production of its Dakota compact pickup truck next Tuesday, as sales of all small-to-midsized pickups have cratered over the last decade. Indeed, the Detroit News reports that the end of Dakota production will result in the layoffs of only 39 employees, although that number may climb as high as 150. In any case, the end of Dakota production is just the tip of the iceberg: Ford’s Ranger goes out of production in December of this year, and GM’s Colorado/Canyon twins will be discontinued sometime next year. Though Dodge plans to bring a minivan-platform-based AWD “lifestyle pickup” to market as a 2014 model, and Chevy is planning to build a North American variant of its new Global Colorado for the 2015 model-year, we’re looking at a several-year interlude in which no American OEM will offer a small pickup in the US. And looking at this chart, you almost can’t blame them…
If you’ve been reading TTAC regularly, you might have noticed that many of us have something of a soft spot for compact pickup trucks. And what started for me as an innate affinity for all forms of cheap, honest, rugged transportation has become full-blown affection on the strength of several months driving a ’92 Toyota with four-cylinders, four-wheel-drive and a manual transmission. Of course, all auto writers struggle with the disconnect between their personal taste and that of the buying public, and cheap full-sized trucks seem to have eliminated all chances of a re-investment in the segment. Ford, for one, has said that it plans on “replacing” its aged Ranger (which dies next year) with Ecoboost-powered F150 options and its Focus hatchback. Dodge, or Ram, or whoever builds the trucks in Auburn Hills is said to be considering an unibody Dakota replacement, but hasn’t made a peep about it in months. Meanwhile, GM is shutting down Canyon/Colorado production at its Shreveport plant by 2012, ending its half-hearted competition in the segment. But, according to Pickuptrucks.com (which is usually one of the best at breaking these kinds of stories), GM is considering a new entry into the otherwise neglected segment.
Ford’s facing one of the toughest challenges in automotive product planning: how to offer the competitive compact pickup consumers say they want without cannibalizing far more profitable full-sized trucks. The solution? Don’t offer a competitive compact pickup. “It’s no secret we have a new Ranger coming globally. We’re working on one for all the other markets in the world,” Ford’s Derrick Kuzak tells Pickuptrucks.com. “The difference is that all of those other markets only have a Ranger. They don’t have an F-150 above it.” See how that works? But don’t worry, Ranger fans. Ford has your effete, pathetic backs…