Rebecca and Shane Phillips from California pose in front of their collection of cars, including the new 2022 Ford Maverick.
Rebecca and Shane Phillips are used to driving through California in their 1985 Mercury Colony Park or 1978 Lincoln Continental with longhorns in front. But the new thug in their collection was somewhat unexpected.
“We get pretty graceful images. Everyone I come across says, “I’ve never seen anything like it,” said 31-year-old Rebecca. “It’s always fun to drive by and someone is surprised. about what it really is and how it looks. “
This is not a classic car, sports car, or electric car. This is the new 2022 Ford Maverick, a small pickup truck that recently went on sale as the automaker’s cheapest vehicle in its entire line of cars and trucks, priced at around $ 20,000.
While the car went on sale for just over a month, Ford Motor says the compact truck – about the length of a full-size Toyota sedan but at a price far below this and many other small cars – is already successfully attracting new, younger and more thrifty buyers. such as Philips.
“We are really seeing a new customer coming to Ford. And that really was our goal. We had to attract younger and more diverse clients. And we are definitely seeing that, ”said Todd Eckert, Ford Truck Marketing Manager. CNBC.
Ford sold over 4,100 Mavericks in its first full month of vehicle sales in October. Eckert said the company will continue to ramp up production of trucks at the Hermosillo plant in Mexico.
People who are not trucks
The importance of Maverick is not only in sales, but also in attracting new customers for Ford. It can act as a gateway for clients sit in larger, more expensive Ford pickups like the midsize Ranger and full-size F-150.
According to Ford, early Maverick buyers are leaning towards younger and more women than the traditionally male-dominated truck market.
Ford said a quarter of Maverick buyers are women, compared with 84% of full-size pickup buyers, according to JD Power. The company says more than a quarter of shoppers are also between the ages of 18 and 35, double the industry average for this age group. According to JD Power, the average age of new car buyers is 48 years old.
The Phillips said they were not “big truck people” or even new car enthusiasts, but they were attracted to the Maverick because of its price, performance and fuel economy.
It’s the same with Christopher Molloy II, who acquired the Maverick as his first new car in early October. He traded the Chevy Cruze compact sedan for a pickup truck.
“This isn’t my first time looking for Maverick. I didn’t know it existed, ”said the 23-year-old Oregon resident. “I was looking for a more SUV. I really didn’t expect to get a new truck because they are so expensive until I saw Maverick coming out. “
Ford surprised many with the Maverick’s low price tag as well as its standard 2.5-liter hybrid engine that can hit over 40 mpg on city driving. With the optional 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder, which adds up to 26 mpg, including 30 mpg on the highway and 23 mpg in the city, the Maverick starts at around $ 21,000.
Top Maverick buyers are also looking at other small pickups like the Toyota Tacoma and Ford Ranger, as well as small crossovers and even the Honda Civic sedan, according to research firm Edmunds.
‘Hit the mark’
The price cut is a welcome change for consumers as car prices hit record highs of around $ 44,000, including a rapidly growing supply of expensive pickup trucks that could cost more than $ 100,000.
“In my 25 years in this business, I don’t know of a single manufacturer that has made a product that is so well suited to its purpose,” said Derek Lee, general manager of Long McArthur Ford in Kansas. “What we see in customers is a younger customer. We see new car buyers. We have buyers for imported cars. “
The first average price buyers pay for the Maverick is $ 29,749, according to Cox Automotive. This includes dealers and customers looking for more expensive trims and options for the truck.
Lee said the dealer has an order for over 400 Mavericks. He said initial demand is the highest he has seen for a store specializing in larger Super Duty pickups.
Phillips and Molloy said dealers have not raised the price of their Mavericks, even though it’s a new car and stock levels are at near-record lows. due to the constant shortage of semiconductor chips.
Some dealerships, who can legally sell a vehicle at any price they choose above the manufacturer’s suggested retail price, operate low inventory levels and tag cars for thousands, if not tens of thousands of dollars, according to dealer reports and websites.
Maverick was not completely free of markups. Lee said his dealership won’t charge a Maverick if ordered by a customer, but if someone cancels their order and it ends up in a dealer’s lot, they’ve priced them at about $ 2,500 over the MSRP.
“If a car gets here and someone refuses it, then yes, we look at the market. We are still working to set the lowest price on the market, ”Lee said. “I know there are some that cost over $ 5,000, I know there are some that cost over $ 10,000. We felt that $ 2,500 was a very, very fair price. “
Eckert said the company has no control over how dealers are pricing their vehicles, but they have informed dealers about the importance of pricing for this vehicle and its target customers.
“We discussed a general proposal of who these server cars are and how we want to attract them,” he said. “They control the markup, or they don’t control the markup, but we think accessibility was one of the keys.”