Ford Maverick pickup doesn’t exist, but reservations are soaring

The 2022 Ford Maverick Hybrid XLT and 2L-EcoBoost AWD Lariat. The Ford Maverick will be available in fall 2021. Ford/TNS

Ford Motor Co. has confirmed 100,000 reservations so far for its all-new little 2022 Maverick pickup that hasn’t been built yet.

The hybrid compact pickup was just revealed in June, and it’s the only pickup with a hybrid base model.

The most reservations have come from consumers in California, Texas and Florida — specifically Los Angeles, San Francisco, Houston and Orlando.

When the Maverick was revealed on June 8, consumers could go to the website to place a non-binding reservation, which basically flags dealers who consider the alert a hard lead for follow up. Some reservations have converted to orders, but Ford is not releasing details yet.

The Free Press made cold calls to Ford dealers in Florida, Texas and Michigan and discovered: One couple has already sold their car while they wait. A salesman who averages 30,000 miles a year said he can’t afford not to own a pickup that delivers 40 miles per gallon. A 5-foot-tall woman with a history of being loyal to Honda said an affordable and comfortable small pickup truck is just too good to resist.

“Toyota Tacoma has dominated mid-size pickup share in California, Florida and Texas,” said Dawn McKenzie, Ford truck communications manager. “The all-new Ford Maverick is America’s first standard full-hybrid pickup with city fuel economy that beats a Honda Civic, plenty of towing and hauling for weekend trips or do-it-yourself projects, and it starts at $19,995.”

A dealer in Texas says the conversion rate from reservations to orders is steady.

“This is very exciting for us,” said Sam Pack, president and CEO of Pack Auto Group based in the Dallas metro area. “We had just under 700 reservations in our four dealerships. That’s exceptionally strong. We’re converting at about a 25-30% rate right now. That’s significant.”

Many of the orders do not include trade-ins, he said. But data from his dealerships indicate that the majority of pending trade-ins are coming from Maverick customers who have purchased other brands previously, most significantly Honda and Toyota, Pack said. These are called “conquest” trades and it’s a point of pride in the industry, to take in vehicles from competitors on trade.

More the half of the orders are coming from men under age 40 who are spending more than the base price to customize their pickups, he said.

‘Man ... what I’m looking for’

Wayne Tipton, 60, a salesman from Jacksonville, Fla., will trade in a 2012 Ford Escape and add a new Maverick to a family lineup that includes an F-150, a Ford Explorer SUV and his daughter’s Subaru Forester compact SUV.

“Sometimes you need to put stuff in the back. A truck is more flexible,” said Tipton. “Probably the overriding reason? The hybrid model. When I saw it, I said, ‘Man, that might be exactly what I’m looking for.’”

Maverick vs. Toyota Tacoma

Meanwhile, Cathy Gall alerted her husband to the hot new pickup after doing early research on YouTube.

“For many many years, I’ve wanted a pickup truck but I had reservations about big trucks. I not only didn’t need all that, I’m short. And I have an 80-year-old mother and I didn’t want her using the side rails to get in. I’ve always really liked the Toyota Tacoma, but their price isn’t great for what they are.”

The Tacoma starts around $26,400 and gets up to 23 miles per gallon.

“I’m not pulling cattle,” Gall said. “I needed something more practically suited to somebody who was loading up the furniture from the Goodwill to refinish. This price point was amazing. I said to my husband, ‘I think I want a new truck from Ford, a Maverick.’ And he said, ‘What’s that?’”

She ordered Cactus Gray through Bozard Ford. Gall, 55, a technical writer in Jacksonville, and her husband Ron, 56, a TV ad sales account executive, surrendered their 2017 Ford Escape while they wait for the Maverick to be built. They still have their 2020 Ford Fusion.

Both Tipton and Gall make up more than 30 commitments to buy, said Jeff King, vice president and general manager at Bozard Ford Lincoln in St. Augustine, Fla.

While so much attention has been heaped on the all-new Ford Bronco and all-electric F-150 Lightning, consumers seem to be wowed by the perks and pricing of the little pickup, King said.

“That’s a steal,” he said of the Maverick pricetag. “Gas mileage is a big plus. And there are a lot of people who are environmentally conscious now. The hybrid word on there is very nice. It’s a win-win.”

‘Right time’

Historically, compact trucks have not seen much success in the U.S., but Americans do appreciate good value, said Jessica Caldwell, executive director of insights at Edmunds.com car shopping site.

“With passenger cars dropping rapidly from the market, the Ford Maverick may have come along at the right time. Offering an inexpensive vehicle with utility and compelling fuel economy ticks a lot of boxes for consumers.”

While a full-size truck remains America’s bestseller, there’s definitely an appetite for something smaller and priced competitively, consumers say.

“I love the compact size of it,” said Todd Irish, 57, a retired automotive service technician who lives in Yulee, Fla. “It’s also gonna be a good fit for me, I feel, because I’m a paraplegic and the Maverick sits low to the ground which makes it easy to get into. I’m going to use it as my daily driver and to pull my jet ski on the weekends.”

He will take the vehicle to a specialty business to modify it to accommodate his driving by hand only, without his wheelchair and sitting in the driver’s seat like every other consumer.

“They make it where I can work the brake and the accelerator by hand, so there’s nothing they do for the wheelchair part,” Irish said, noting he has done the same to modify his Mustang GT and F-150.

Targeting first-time truck owners

Jarrod Tishhouse is a 33-year-old Kalamazoo, Mich., native who now works as an independent electrical contractor in Lancaster, Pa. He drives a Ford E-150 work van and has had only one pickup truck ever — “an old rusted-out 1999 Chevy Silverado” — that he used to own when he ran a small farm in southwest Michigan.

“This will be the first new vehicle I’ll have ever purchased. It’s within my price range and fits my lifestyle perfectly. I needed a smaller truck as I live and do 90% of my work in Lancaster City, which has mostly on-street parking and small roads,” Tishhouse said. “The truck has all of the compartments I need for my tools, a charging station in the bed for my power tool batteries, and just the right amount of bed space for hauling my job materials.”

On top of all that, he needs a second family vehicle not just for his three daughters but also for camping, hiking, longboarding and kayaking. He’s paying a little more, about $32,000 or so, for a tricked out version that includes extra safety features.

“I don’t know of another truck that comes even close to offering this kind of gas mileage and features for this price range,” said Tishhouse, who tweeted about his first-ever new vehicle purchase in June.

“The only gripe I have right now is with global supply chains. I know Ford has said they will try and get the trucks out by this fall, but I ordered my truck on June 15, and it still hasn’t been selected for scheduling yet (while identical orders made after mine have been),” he said. “I do wish Ford was a bit more transparent about their supply chains so that customers could adjust their orders accordingly if something isn’t available.”

Despite supply chain disruption to the whole industry, “everything appears to be on the right path” and “all the prelaunch deliverables that we measure are still coming in positive” so the vehicle is expected to land in dealerships this fall, said Trevor Scott, Ford Maverick and Ranger marketing manager.

“We’re really encouraged,” he said. “ ... Small car and small SUV customers are looking at a truck for the first time.”

The Maverick is designed to compete with the Hyundai Venue, Nissan Kicks and small cars like the Toyota Corolla and Honda Civic. The Maverick shares its basic engineering with the Ford Escape, Bronco Sport and Lincoln Corsair compact SUVs. It’ll be built alongside the Bronco Sport in Hermosillo, Mexico.

How it works

Hybrid electric vehicles are powered by an internal combustion engine and an electric motor, which uses energy stored in batteries, as explained by the U.S. Department of Energy.

Unlike an all-electric vehicle, a hybrid vehicle cannot be plugged in to charge the battery. “The battery is charged through regenerative braking and by the internal combustion engine. The extra power provided by the electric motor can potentially allow for a smaller engine. The battery can also ... reduce engine idling when stopped.”

While few people stop to ask how the hybrid technology works, the federal government praises hybrid vehicles for “better fuel economy without sacrificing performance.”

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