Rebecca and Shane Phillips of California pose in front of their car collection, including their new Ford Maverick 2022.
Rebecca and Shane Phillips are used to eye-catching when they drive through California in their 1985 Mercury Colony Park or 1978 Lincoln Continental with Longhorns on the front. But the latest eye-catcher in their collection came a little unexpected.
“The looks we get are pretty neat. Everyone I’ve met says, ‘I’ve never seen anything like this,'” said Rebecca, 31. “It’s always fun driving by and someone is surprised what it really is and what it looks like. “
It’s not a classic car, sports car, or electric vehicle. It’s the new 2022 Ford Maverick, a small pickup truck that recently launched as the automaker’s cheapest vehicle in its full range of cars and trucks for 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 Toyota full-size sedan but far cheaper than that and many other smaller cars – is already successfully creating new appeal has, younger, more cost-conscious buyers like Phillips’.
“We really see a new customer coming to Ford. And that was really our goal with Maverick, targeting a younger, more diverse customer. And we’re definitely seeing that, ”Todd Eckert, Ford Truck Marketing Manager, told CNBC.
Ford sold more than 4,100 Mavericks during the vehicle’s first full month of sales in October. Eckert said the company will continue ramping up production of the truck at the automaker’s Hermosillo plant in Mexico.
Maverick isn’t just about selling, it’s also about bringing new customers to Ford. It can serve as an entry-level vehicle for customers to step into larger, more expensive Ford pickups like the midsize Ranger and the full-size F-150.
According to Ford, early Maverick buyers are younger and more female than the traditionally male-dominated truck market.
According to Ford, JD Power says a quarter of Maverick buyers are women, compared to 84% male for full-size pickups. The company reports that more than a quarter of shoppers are also between 18 and 35 years old – double the industry average for that age group. According to JD Power, the average age of a new car buyer is 48 years.
The Phillips’ said they weren’t “big truck people” or even new car people, but they were drawn to the Maverick because of its price, features, and fuel economy.
It is similar with Christopher Molloy II, who bought a Maverick as his first new vehicle in early October. He traded a compact Chevy Cruze sedan for the pickup.
“I didn’t look for a Maverick first. I didn’t know it existed,” said the 23-year-old Oregonian. “I was looking for more SUV-type. I wasn’t really expecting 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, which can go over 40 mpg when driving around town. A Maverick with an optional 2.0-liter, four-cylinder turbo engine that gets a combined 26 mpg combo, including 30 mpg highway and 23 mpg city, starts at around $ 21,000.
The top vehicles Maverick buyers also see are other small pickups like the Toyota Tacoma and Ford Ranger, as well as small crossovers and even the Honda Civic sedan, according to car research firm Edmunds.
‘Hit the target’
The lower prices are a welcome change for consumers as vehicle prices hit record highs of around $ 44,000, including a rapidly growing supply of expensive pickups that can exceed $ 100,000.
“In 25 years in this business, I don’t know I’ve seen a manufacturer come up with a product that hit the mark so well,” said Derek Lee, general manager of Long McArthur Ford in Kansas. “What we see in buyers is a younger buyer. We see first-time car buyers. We have import car buyers.”
The early average price customers pay for the Maverick is $ 29,749, according to Cox Automotive. This includes dealers and customers who choose higher-priced equipment and options for the truck.
Lee said his dealership ordered more than 400 Mavericks. He said the initial demand was the highest he had seen for the store, which specializes in larger Super Duty pickups.
Keep prices low
The Phillips and Molloy said dealers did not raise the price of their Mavericks despite the fact that it is a new vehicle and inventories are near record lows due to a persistent shortage of semiconductor chips.
Some dealers who can legally sell a car at any price above the manufacturer’s suggested retail price or MSRP have taken advantage of low inventory levels and according to reports and dealers websites rated vehicles at thousands if not tens of thousands of dollars.
The Maverick wasn’t entirely free of markups. Lee said his dealership won’t upgrade a Maverick if it’s ordered by a customer, but if someone cancels their order and it goes on the dealership lot, they priced it at about $ 2,500 above MSRP.
“When a vehicle arrives here and someone rejects it, yes, we look at the market. We’re still working to be the lowest price on the market,” said Lee. “I know there are some over $ 5,000, I know there are some over $ 10,000. We felt that over $ 2,500 was a very, very fair price.”
Eckert said Ford has no control over how dealers price their vehicles, but they have told dealers the importance of pricing for that vehicle and its target customers.
“We talked about the full range and who these car buyers are and how we want to attract them,” he said. “You control markup or no markup, but we believe affordability was one of the keys.”