Ford Bets on Tiny Pickup Trucks
Maverick is the Cheapest in Ford’s Lineup
Ford (F) is betting that bigger is not always better with the launch of a smaller pickup truck. The company unveiled the Maverick on Tuesday, which is roughly the size of a compact SUV and has a price tag starting at $19,995. This is much lower than the cost of the current crop of pickup trucks on the market. It will also be the cheapest Ford vehicle in its US lineup when it hits showroom floors this fall.
Ford’s move is a departure for an industry known for churning out bigger and pricier pickup trucks over the years. The vehicle manufacturer is going after individuals who like the idea of having a flatbed but don’t have the space or the budget to purchase one of its current pickups.
Ford Eyes Entry-Level Buyers
With the launch of the Maverick, Ford is trying to broaden its product lineup to entry-level consumers. The Dearborn, Michigan-based company stopped producing the Fiesta and Focus models a few years back, eliminating two choices for vehicles priced at $20,000. That freed up Ford to focus on higher-margin SUVs, pickup trucks, and electric vehicles. At the same time, it also shut out budget buyers.
With the Maverick, Ford is hoping to win those buyers back. When the Maverick launches in the fall it will face direct competition only from Hyundai Motors’ (HYMTF) Santa Cruz, which debuts this summer. The Korean car maker also thinks there is a market for buyers who want the ability to move gear and heavy equipment but also be able to easily shuttle around in the suburbs or city.
Compact Pickups Lost Their Luster
Compact pickups are popular outside the US, but in America consumers love their trucks super-sized. Tiny pickup trucks did have their days in the spotlight back in the 1990s, but an era of cheap gas and low interest rates shifted buyers’ taste to larger trucks. Most vehicle manufacturers, including Ford, phased out their compact trucks as a result.
In recent years, Ford has been making big bets that have paid off. Its exit from the cheap vehicle market freed the company up to pour resources into trucks, SUVs, and EVs, increasing sales and improving margins. The vehicle maker is making another bold bet with the Maverick. It will be interesting to see if Ford is right and how rivals respond.
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