Following an extended production pause of the all-electric Lightning pickup, Ford has signaled its intention to boost production through the rest of 2023 – especially when it comes to its most in-demand models. While it’s undoubtedly wise for Blue Oval to ensure it can build enough vehicles to satisfy demand, the automaker is also trying to turn around any perceptions that it might be falling behind with EVs. Meanwhile, Ford is providing itself with an opportunity to preemptively dunk on General Motors after news broke that the rival automaker would walk back full-size pickup production to “ maintain optimal inventory levels.”
It’s not unusual for an automaker to begin mining a successful sub-brand for every shred of credibility it has managed to accrue. Witness the rapid expansion of the Denali line at GMC, for example. Across town, Ford has seen the Tremor trim on its pickup trucks secure a decent take rate in this wonky market, so they’ve decided to hurl it at the little Maverick as well.
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.
A few weeks ago, Ford took the wraps off of a new, “right-sized” pickup for the 2022 model year called the Maverick. The truck is different. For one, it’s a unibody design with four doors and a bed that’s integrated into the cab, not separate. For another, it’s a hybrid — which, I dunno. That seemed kind of brave, for Ford. It seemed brave enough to me, at least, to inspire me to take a closer look at the little truck’s specs … and that’s when I noticed that the new Maverick isn’t that little after all.
In fact, at 199.7 inches long, the new “compact” Maverick is a full two inches longer than the 1992 Ford F-150 “full-size” half-ton pickup.
Thanks to all of you who welcomed this new series when it appeared on your digital screens last week. Experiments can fall flatter than that can of 7Up you left out overnight, and we’re glad this one made the cut.
Given the BnB’s propensity for small pickup trucks with blue ovals on the grille (remember Sajeev’s understandable but slightly terrifying infatuation with his last-gen Ford Ranger?), the new Maverick makes a perfect foil for the second entry in The Right Spec series of posts.
The word of the week has been Maverick.
The 2022 Ford Maverick has gotten plenty of coverage on this site and elsewhere, plenty of buzz on Twitter, and every auto journalist I know, self included, has strained to find the best joke referencing either Top Gun or a ’90s Western comedy starring Mel Gibson and James Garner (both flicks are excellent, by the way).
I want to be excited by this truck. I should be excited by this truck. And yet, my prevailing feeling about it could be summed up by a gif of a shrug.
Ford CEO Jim Farley was interviewed in a New York Times article apparently devoted to praising him and the company. It was reminiscent of those segments on Good Morning America where they have healthy cooking tips sponsored by the American Egg Board and — surprise, surprise — end up recommending people incorporate eggs into meals.
But it wasn’t entirely devoid of substance, either. While pretending that Farley had just taken the job and was somehow solely responsible for a gaggle of successful debuts planned ages before he took over, NYT did mange to convince him to open up about the future of the Maverick pickup and its potential family.
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.
Ford squeezed an amazing amount of value out of the 1960 Falcon‘s chassis design, with everything from the 1964-1973 Mustang to the 1980 Granada rolling Falcon-style. The Falcon itself got replaced here by the Maverick starting in 1970 (with one year of overlap when both were available), but the Maverick still had the 1960 Falcon’s bones under its skin. Millions of Mavericks (and near-identical Mercury Comets) were sold here during the 1970-1977 period, and nearly all of these affordable commutemobiles got crushed decades ago. Still, I run across the occasional Maverick/ Comet during my junkyard journeys, and I found this optioned-up ’76 in a Denver-area yard last summer.
It’s no secret that Ford has a compact, unibody pickup coming down the product pipeline, what with well-camouflaged prototypes seen by photographers and the admission from the company that a small trucklet is something it feels is worthwhile pursuing.
A small truck based on the same platform underpinning the Escape and Euro-market Focus might well prove a valuable addition to the company’s crowded utility lineup, but we now have a fairly solid piece of evidence that this product will resurrect a bit of the past.
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- ToolGuy "Mr. President, no government agency, no think tank, and no polling firm knows more about the automobile customer than us. We talk to customers every day. As retail automotive dealerships, we are agnostic as to what we sell. Our business is to provide customers with vehicles that meet the needs of their budgets and lifestyles.”• How many lies can you fit into one paragraph?
- Spamvw Three on the tree, even Generation X would have a hard time stealing one of those.
- ToolGuy This trend of cyan wheels needs to end NOW.
- Kwik_Shift Interesting nugget(s) of EV follies. https://x.com/WallStreetApes/status/1729212326237327708?s=20
- SaulTigh I've said it before and I'll say it again...if you really cared about the environment you'd be encouraging everyone to drive a standard hybrid. Mature and reliable technology that uses less resources yet can still be conveniently driven cross country and use existing infrastructure.These young people have no concept of how far we've come. Cars were dirty, stinking things when I was a kid. They've never been cleaner. You hardly ever see a car smoking out the tail pipe or smell it running rich these days, even the most clapped out 20 year old POS. Hybrids are even cleaner.