Rebecca and Shane Phillips of California pose in front of their collection of cars, including their new 2022 Ford Maverick.
Rebecca and Shane Phillips are used to having looks when they drive around California in their 1985 Mercury Colony Park or 1978 Lincoln Continental with longhorns in the front. But the latest head turner in their collection was somewhat unexpected.
“The looks we get are pretty polished. Everyone I’ve met is like, ‘I’ve never seen anything like this,'” said Rebecca, 31. “It’s always fun to drive and someone is surprised about what it really is and what it looks like.”
It is not a classic vehicle, a sports car or an electric vehicle. It’s the new Ford Maverick 2022, a small pickup that recently went on sale as the automaker’s cheapest vehicle across its lineup of cars and trucks at around $ 20,000.
While the vehicle has only been on sale for a little over a month, Ford Motor says the compact truck – about the length of a full-size Toyota sedan but at a much lower price point than it and many other smaller cars – already succeeding in attracting new, younger, more cost-conscious buyers like the Phillips.
“We really see a new customer coming into Ford. And that was really our ambition. Our fabric was to appeal to a younger, more diverse customer. And we certainly see that,” said Todd Eckert, Ford Truck Marketing Director. , CNBC said.
Ford sold more than 4,100 Mavericks in the vehicle’s first full month of sales in October. Eckert said the company will continue to ramp up production of the truck at the automaker’s plant in Hermosillo, Mexico.
The importance of Maverick is not only about sales, but also attracting new customers to Ford. It can act as a gateway vehicle for customers to get into larger, more expensive Ford pickup trucks, such as the mid-size Ranger and full-size F-150.
According to Ford, early Maverick buyers are younger and more feminine than the traditionally male-dominated truck market.
Ford said a quarter of Maverick buyers are women, compared to 84% for full-size pickup trucks, according to JD Power. The company reports that more than a quarter of buyers are also between 18 and 35 years old, double the industry average for this age group. The average age of a new vehicle buyer is 48, according to JD Power.
The Phillips have said they’re not “big truckers” or even new car people, but they were drawn to the Maverick because of its price, features, and fuel economy.
It’s a similar story for Christopher Molloy II, who bought the Maverick as his first new vehicle in early October. He traded in a compact Chevy Cruze sedan for the pickup.
“I wasn’t looking for a Maverick first. I didn’t know it existed,” said 23-year-old Oregonian. “I was looking for more SUV type. I didn’t really expect to get a new truck because they are so expensive until I saw the Maverick come out.”
Ford surprised many with the Maverick’s low price as well as its standard 2.5-liter hybrid engine that can hit over 40 mpg in city driving. A Maverick with an optional 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine that gets a combined handset of 26 mpg, including 30 mpg on the highway and 23 mpg in the city, starts at around $ 21,000.
The main vehicles that Maverick buyers are also looking at are other small pickups such as the Toyota Tacoma and Ford Ranger as well as small crossovers and even the Honda Civic sedan, according to automotive research firm Edmunds.
‘Hit the target’
The lower prices are a welcome change for consumers, as vehicle prices hit all-time highs of around $ 44,000, including a rapidly rising supply of expensive pickup trucks that can exceed $ 100,000.
“In 25 years in this industry, I don’t know if I’ve seen a manufacturer release a product that hits the mark so well,” said Derek Lee, general manager of Long McArthur Ford in Kansas. “What we’re seeing in buyers is a younger buyer. We are seeing first-time buyers of cars. We have buyers of imported cars.”
The initial average price that customers pay for the Maverick is $ 29,749, according to Cox Automotive. This includes dealers and customers who choose more expensive versions and options on the truck.
Lee said the dealership has more than 400 Mavericks on order. He said initial demand is the highest he’s seen for the store, which specializes in larger Super Duty pickups.
Keep prices low
The Phillips and Molloys said dealers have not marked up the price of their Mavericks even though it is a new vehicle and inventory levels are near record due to a continuing shortage of chips. semiconductors.
Some dealers, who can legally sell a car for any price they choose above the manufacturer’s suggested retail price, have exploited low inventory levels and marked up vehicles by thousands or even tens of thousands of dollars, according to the dealer. dealer reports and websites.
The Maverick hasn’t been completely free of beacons. Lee said his dealership wouldn’t mark up a Maverick if it’s ordered by a customer, but if someone cancels their order and goes on the dealer’s lot, he priced them around 2,500. $ above MSRP.
“If a vehicle comes in here and someone refuses it, yes we look at what the market is. We are always working to be the lowest price in the market,” Lee said. “I know it’s $ 5,000 more, I know it’s $ 10,000 more. We thought that $ 2,500 more was a very, very fair price.”
Eckert said the company cannot control how dealers price their vehicles, but they have communicated to dealers the importance of pricing this vehicle and its target customers.
“We talked about the overall proposition and who these car servers are and how we want to attract them,” he said. “They control the markup or no markup, but we think affordability was one of the keys.”