Maverick makes Ford’s carless strategy add up

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Three years ago, Ford decided to go without a car and announced a dramatic plan to stop production besides the Mustang and invest in other types of vehicles. In theory, it made sense. Consumers want crossovers, SUVs and trucks, not sedans and hatchbacks. However, it wasn't clear exactly how the company was going to replace its cars. With the unveiling of the 2022 Maverick and a little bit of retrospection, Ford's strategy takes shape.
The Maverick is a small pickup truck with an affordable price starting at $ 21,490. It looks cool, a bit like the Bronco Sport with bed, and might bring Ford new and younger buyers. Its capabilities are relatively modest for a pickup truck, but still adequate for what a lot of people need. Don't think of the Maverick as a smaller Ranger or F-150. Rather, the Maverick replaces the Focus.
Does a lightbulb go out? Ford obviously never gave up on entry-level car buyers, but the Maverick shows how the company can reach them in other ways. Ford even compared the Maverick to the Honda Civic in terms of fuel efficiency by touting the pickup's attributes.
"Maverick looks like a very clever and well-designed entry-level product for Ford, and it certainly has the potential to really shake up the entry-level segment of the market," said Ed Kim, vice president of Industry Analysis for AutoPacific, said Autoblog.
The Maverick has the chance to be a trendsetter. It's a hybrid that gets 37 mpg (combined) and an impressive 40 mpg in the city. It can haul 2,000 pounds. The optional turbo engine with 250 hp promises to drive lively and can pull 4,000 pounds with the tow package.
"By bringing Ford Maverick to market at a price that can compete with boring compact sedans, Ford now has a very intriguing product in a very ambitious body style," Kim said in an email. "Of course, it doesn't have the capabilities of its larger Ranger and F-Series siblings, but it's surprisingly powerful for what it is, and the Ford Truck brand's strong image will certainly give the Maverick some credibility."
Ford is launching the truck as an affordable option for 20 and 30 year olds, empty nests, or basically anyone who wants a humble ride. Think Bronco Sport or Subaru Crosstrek buyers. The former might have bought a Focus, the latter almost certainly not. The Maverick could catch a few former Fusion buyers as well. While it is logical that some value-minded buyers would have opted for Ford's small crossovers, the Escape or Bronco Sport, these are more expensive than the Focus.
The strategies are great, but Ford's ones didn't make a lot of sense on the surface in the spring of 18. It seemed like a tough move that would voluntarily give up market share to prove a theoretical point. The message didn't help, as the mainstream media didn't always pick up on the nuance that Ford was replacing its cars with vehicles of similar size and electric vehicles, rather than simply pumping money into gas-guzzling SUVs.
It was a move under former Ford CEO Jim Hackett, but his successor, Jim Farley, has proven better at promoting Ford's products and technologies as agents of change.
Although Ford has faced a lot of negative publicity for dropping most of its cars, General Motors, Stellantis and most recently Mazda have phased out some or all of their traditional sedans. In hindsight, much of Ford's auto-kulling would likely have happened anyway. The Fiesta and Taurus were aging products and populated segments that car buyers actually left. The Focus and Fusion were marginally better, but not the best in their class, and would have required significant investments to climb the pecking order.
Expectations and communication are important, but implementation is what counts in the end. And if Ford successfully launches and sells the Maverick, it will have doubters proven wrong and overtake some of its rivals.
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