Will Americans, Who’ve Spurned Cheaper Cars for Decades, Buy a Lower-Priced Baby “Truck?” I Don’t Know Either

Americans love big expensive equipment. And cheap cars have fizzled. Ford, which threw in the towel on its cheapest cars, is trying again, this time with a small “truck.”

By Wolf Richter for WOLF STREET.

Look, I think it’s a good idea to sell new vehicles with lower price tags that the less-well-off consumers can afford and like to drive. It’s like the biggest no-brainer in the history of mankind, given that these consumers today are shuffled off to the used vehicle market because they’ve been locked out of the new vehicle market.

But the idea has been had before. And it has failed every time. The lesson is always the same: Americans love big and expensive equipment, and it’s easy to sell and easy to make money with; and small and cheap is very hard to sell, and nearly impossible to make money with for automakers and dealers.

So Ford is trying again. It announced today its latest effort, the Maverick, a four-door front-wheel-drive pickup truck, with a tiny bed in the back – I mean, is this still a “truck?” The model is smaller than the Ranger and “starts under $20,000.” This will be the cheapest vehicle in Ford’s line-up for the 2022 model year.

This comes after Ford just threw in the towel on its cheapest car in the US, the Fiesta. It also threw in the towel on all its other sedans. The only car it keeps around is the Mustang.

The Fiestas were nicely equipped for what they were, and started at around $15,000 MSRP. That’s still a lot of money for a lot of people. In 2019, Ford sold 60,000 of them, compared to 900,000 F-series trucks and 241,000 Escape SUVs. And it’s on trucks and SUVs where the big-fat profit margins are.

When I was still in the business, Ford sold the similar sounding Festiva in the late 1980s and early 1990s, a Korean-made car. It was basic. You paid extra for dealer-add-on AC. Power windows not available. But you could put a whole bunch of stuff in the back. And it got about 50 mpg. We tried hard to sell them, occasionally even at $4,999, but we sold only a few, and lost money at that price. This wasn’t fun.

Meanwhile, pickups have gotten bigger and more expensive and sophisticated. Crew cabs (four doors) used to be rare and expensive. Now they’re common and a lot more expensive. And the beds have gotten smaller. The basic version of the F-150, the XL, starts at $29,000, and hardly anyone buys them other than fleets. If you try a little to spec out a high-end F-350 Crew Cab, you can get close to $100,000. The F-series is the bestselling vehicle in the US. In 2018, Ford sold a record 910,000 of them. They have big-fat profit margins and are immensely profitable and important for Ford.

The Ranger, a mid-size truck that Ford revived in the US for the 2019 model year, starts at $25,000. And they’re not red-hot. Last year, Ford sold 101,000 of them, compared to 787,000 F-series. And maybe some of those Ranger sales cannibalized F-150 sales.

So now Ford has this compact truck Maverick in the pipeline. It has a hybrid powertrain that drives the front wheels. Ford said it’ll get 40 mpg in the city, which is not unusual for hybrids because they charge up their battery with the regenerative braking system. It will likely have the electronics you’d expect in a modern vehicle.

The promo video shows a bunch of young people “doing stuff,” such as carrying two cups of to-go coffee while talking on the cellphone while approaching the door of the truck. So this is who the vehicle will be marketed to. And that’s a great thing.

The question is: Will Americans buy it in large enough numbers, given their long history of spurning small and low-cost new vehicles, and given their well-established record of clamoring for the biggest most expensive new equipment they can afford. And if they cannot afford it new, they’ll rather buy it used, than buy something small and cheap that’s new.

The stock market didn’t go for it. After the Maverick was announced, Ford’s shares [F] fell 1.5%. This comes after weeks of EV hype that had driven, so to speak, the shares to multiyear highs. OK, the message was mixed. The Maverick had to compete with news from Ford about the semiconductor shortage, which keeps on keeping on.

I would like to see cheaper new vehicles become popular in the US in a big way. Automakers have tried with various low-cost models, and you can see them in the rental fleets, and you can buy them on the used vehicle market after they come out of the rental fleet, but they’re just not popular as new vehicles on dealer lots.

So now Ford has switched strategy. Instead of selling a low-end car, it’s selling a low-end truck that is quite a bit more expensive than its low-end car was before it was retired.

Ford will likely be able to make more money on a $20,000 Maverick than on a $15,000 Fiesta, and so it will likely spend more on marketing the Maverick.

Ford has left cars for dead, other than the Mustang. Everything else it sells in the US going forward are compact SUVs, SUVs, pickups, or vans. The writing has been on the wall for years: Americans love SUVs and trucks, even if the SUV is based on a car chassis.

With its front-wheel drive configuration, the Maverick may be closer to a car chassis than a truck chassis. And it gets the fuel economy of a car.

Maybe Americans will go for it this time, since it has a bed in the back and isn’t a “car” but a “truck.” But it’s still $5,000 more expensive than the cheapest vehicle was in Ford’s lineup that it replaces.

Enjoy reading WOLF STREET and want to support it? Using ad blockers – I totally get why – but want to support the site? You can donate. I appreciate it immensely. Click on the beer and iced-tea mug to find out how:

Would you like to be notified via email when WOLF STREET publishes a new article? Sign up here.

Many experts agree that metal roofs are a great defense against wildfires. Click here or call 1-800-543-8938 for details from our sponsor, the Classic Metal Roofing folks.

Classic Metal Roofing Systems, the leader in fire safe roofing for residential applications, manufactures products that are 1/20 the weight of most tile products and eligible for Class A, B, or C fire ratings as determined by roof preparation.

  202 comments for “Will Americans, Who’ve Spurned Cheaper Cars for Decades, Buy a Lower-Priced Baby “Truck?” I Don’t Know Either

  1. raxadian says:

    Around here the Ford Fiesta sold okay but then again I live in South America. Even if you can afford an expensive card you also need for spare parts to be avaliable locally and since Ford has factories in Brazil or at least had them back then, you could get the spare parts.

    Why does the USA loves big cars so much, is it because they see them as a status symbol?

    • SaltyGolden says:

      Sure they’re somewhat a status symbol. But that’s not the real reason.

      We mainly love big cars because we’re big people. About 40% of us are obese, with about 3/4 of us being either overweight or obese.

      You ever see an obese person squeeze into a Ford Fiesta? I haven’t but I imagine it’s not fun. Now imagine an obese couple.

      I’m sure lots of people have reasons outside of being big themselves for owning big cars. But it’s the size of us.

      • Brain Freeze says:

        Living in Europe I love reading these columns explaining Americabs and their preferences and explaining why things are the way they are. Btw SUV’s are taking off in a big way here too. Need a big wagon to hold all that stuff.

        • Joe Saba says:

          yah I love my hugely f350 with so much DIESEL power

          vroom it goes and passes little f150’s for lunch

      • Anthony says:

        There is also the point, that roads in the USA are big enough for large cars, not so in the rest of the world. That’s why Europeans don’t buy very many big American Trucks and why the best selling car in England is the Ford Fiesta. Brits drive American cars, just not the big ones…..The best selling car in the UK (for ever) has been some sort of Ford, followed by Volkswagon and GM.

        • Anon1970 says:

          Gasoline has also been much more expensive in Europe than in the US for as long as I can remember.

        • Marc D. says:

          The small Ford cars in Europe were actually designed there, by the Ford division in Europe (Fiesta, Focus, etc). So even though they’re Fords, they’re really more European than American in their design.

      • Dr Pangloss says:

        WOW! Great observations. I/we just returned from a Florida beach vacation. Obese? Just walking along the beach I couldn’t help observing people in bathing suits. Men AND women. Remarked to my wife, “ these are hugely obese people, yet bathing suit manufacturers seem to make bathing suits for every size”.
        I mean huge people. Had enough material in these bathing suits to blanket a horse. In fact I’m sure their horses are freezing back home because their owners are wearing their blankets.

        • NBay says:

          Lot of money made in treating type 2 diabetes and the overall “metabolic syndrome” that goes with obesity. I mentioned here earlier that they just doubled the diabetic drug Ozempic doseage and thereby “created” a brand new weight loss drug, that the gutted and bought off FDA just approved. Next move (now in process) is to get obesity treated as a disease (your diet/lifestyle has nothing to do with it), and then it comes off the “cosmetic” drug list and the government (you) will pay for it all.
          Pharma is evil, the banks just take money, Pharma takes money and shortens your life, gives you other health problems, or at best does nothing.

        • aj says:

          Corporate manufactured food-like substances are primarily to blame. That, and the bad advice food pyramid they touted for generations.

        • JRHill says:

          I can’t fathom the connection you are making. Of course the average American is true to getting bigger but the bigger vehicle for that reason ‘doesn’t fit’. Myself included. I’m not obese and I have my have excuses for a few extra pounds – at least one or two of those reasons are legitimate.

          But relating larger vehicles to larger people is a discussion item. Do you want to contest that? Go to a Walmart, etc. and pick a vehicle of a given size or smaller. When ‘weigh’ the evidence that obese people get out of a small vehicle not much different than a larger unit. There is some factoring of data but I disagree with your point.

          No, the average American Joe or Jolene just wants the bigger rig and the status and they don’t do much more than haul groceries.

          I also reiterate a point I’ve made several times before: Wolf, bless him, is a city guy and much of the audience are city people. Many consistently discount the fact that some folks are rural or work in the trades. Bigger rigs are needed. And probably used. And you can tell. They will have a well used trailer ball. They might be dirtier. They might have a few dings. They usually won’t be jacked up with roll bars and aux lights. They probably won’t be polished but maybe. On and on.

          All is not what you perceive in the city.

      • Yaun says:

        Why trucks though and not SUV? A truck has so many downsides, such a narrow use case and should thus be such a niche segment, maybe useful for a farmer to own. If you really need the hauling capacity something like a mercedes sprinter van is much more versatile and your stuff doesn’t get rained on. It seems like people like to buy things that cover a need they may have once in 5 years, instead of just buying something practical cover 99.99% of their needs and then renting once in a moon for the 0.01% use cases.

        • Sailor says:

          If this ‘truck’ is really aimed, as the ads seem, at getting 2 young couples and their mountain bikes and tents out into the back country every weekend, then it will probably get used a lot for its intended purpose.
          Personally, I last hauled half a ton of stuff in my half ton truck …three days ago, and another 5 times last month.
          My idea of a ‘small’, cheap truck would be to leave out all the entertainment stuff and unnecessary gizzmos, lengthen the bed, fit 4×4 as standard, improve the reliability a lot, make it easy to fix yourself…they could call it a Toyota Hilux ;) You know everybody wants one, that’s why the US manufacturers got the government to come up with a cocktail of regulations that banned it.

        • Cas127 says:

          Actually, I think the unique aspects of trucks probably goose their sales numbers more than a bit.

          1) A decent number of trucks are still used in a work capacity (construction, etc) or hybrid work/personal use.

          A) You can’t haul lumber in your Fiesta.

          B) Even now, there are more passenger car options than truck options…so that work demand gets funneled where there are fewer choices, goosing F150 sales.

          2) SUVs (the mod equivalent of family station wagons or minivans) game the MPG system by being defined as trucks. This also hugely boosts “truck” sales (although it doesn’t explain the specific F150 lust)

        • NBay says:

          Checked it out. It is on a unibody chassis. But I think they blew it by making it a crew cab. That little bed is useless. If they’d gone for a slightly extended cab, (just enough to stash a few things behind the seat) they probably could sell a useful little PU for $17-18K base price.
          Anything usually hauled that will fit in that tiny bed will likely fit in an SUV. But it wouldn’t be a major design change to de-crew cab it.

        • NBay says:

          Been looking at that Maverick more……

          I think I was wrong. I was thinking from my own practical point of view like using it to do electrical repair/alterations, or my own once planned semi-retirement job of making auto diagnostic house and “stumped mechanic biz” calls. They don’t know electronics, chemistry, and physics well at all. Newer car diagnostics require a knowledge of all.

          As anyone can see in commercials, what is being sold is IMAGE. It doesn’t matter if you are really a “go do it type”, only that you look like you ARE one. The old Dodge Ram “Guts and Glory” was almost too obvious, so now the just cleverly insinuate that you are a real “go do it” type, even if you sit on your butt all day, at work and at home. But the message is still there.

          It will sell like crazy, almost as good of an image as the bigger trucks, but for far less…..and everyone MUST have transport, it’s second only to housing, except for dedicated city dwellers who thrive on “highbrow” cultural stuff.

      • raxadian says:

        Depending on the model, you can move the seat back, Fiesta had many models some of them actually a bit big. However I think thr big models were only sold in Latin America and Europe? But not as big as “Can fit a cow in the seat” that I guess you are talking about.

      • Matt says:

        Good point. Obesity is so prevalent here that I don’t even notice it anymore, until I recently read a textbook describing it as “a true crisis and public health emergency”.

        As soon as I started paying attention to it while I’m working at the store it’s just unbelievable. Then I’m watching people buy like 12 CASES of Top Ramen, or $200 worth of literally every sugary thing in the store. I’m like huh you think you have enough sugar there? Oh wait nope there she goes pulling up another cart with a couple 25 pound bags of granulated sugar. This literally happens.

        • Sugar Stimulus says:

          I think you zeroed in on the right culprit: SUGAR! We are what we eat.

          A recent study by QUT neuroscientist prof. Selena Bartlett affirmed a strong association between attention-deficits/hyperactivity disorders and being overweight or obese with unrestricted consumption of high-sugar food and beverages within the Western diet. In children, high sugar consumption correlates with hyperactivity and in adults, with inattention and impulsivity!

          Maybe, if US government bans sugar for a year or two, we will be spared from Wolf’s WTF graph spikes!

        • NBay says:

          Yep. And a lot of it is in the drinks the kids guzzle while playing at games or whatever on the computer. Happened to my nephew. Real toad. His sister was a swim champ and thin as hell, as are his parents.

        • Dano says:

          The problem isn’t sugar but corn syrup. Almost everything that used to use sugar has switched to corn syrup. It’s a change of corporations selling the stuff. sugar comes from smaller co-ops and companies, while corn syrup is the domain of corporate farming.

          Personally I find corn syrup has a sour aftertaste and just isn’t as pleasant tasting, but Americans seem to have lost their ability for discernment when it comes to taste. Take a look at the sodas on the market. Real sugar sweetened is almost impossible to find any more.

          Dano

      • SomethingStinks says:

        If you want to see one, on YouTube search “snatch tyrone”, and watch the first search result of about 3.27 minutes. Its set in England, but you will get the idea. One of the best movies ever made.

      • Auldyin says:

        SG
        The comments on this site are way better than watching TV!
        Big people, you’ve got me visualising a truck with a swivel crane on the the bed.
        Have I just seen the future?

        • NBay says:

          Ha-Ha. Yeah Aud, with a BIG door and a lock in place car seat that the crane easily attaches to.

      • CallingYouOut says:

        So I guess everyone driving big cars from the ’30s and on were fatties too? Americans have always liked big cars. Who cares. All I see here is haters taking pot shots. I expect better from this website.

      • Peacefuldaizy says:

        No offense, but that’s silly. People loved big cars in America long before many of us were obese. Why? There’s probably many reasons, but what we see in advertising and tv shows likely plays a huge part.

      • Mira says:

        Is that true – 46.6% of Americans are obese or over weight & according to whom.
        It’s not as easy as to say .. “Your Too Fat .. because you eat too much .. junk food even.” it’s great for the failed diet industry though who are raking it in based on lies & rubbish.

    • Joan of Arc says:

      They probably need to lay down on a couch and get psychoanalyzed. It won’t be pretty!

    • Petunia says:

      I’m not a car enthusiast but I live in the southern US where everybody except me drives a truck or SUV. They are popular because the infrastructure in this part of America is really poor. The roads are badly graded and flood frequently and many residential areas flood as well. The height of the truck is what they are really buying, plus the power to haul your possessions to higher ground. I never understood the truck thing until I moved to the South.

      • Sailor says:

        Up north, if you hit a moose (usually at night) with your sedan or SUV, you die, as about 5 people a year round here do. If you hit it with a truck, the truck dies but you walk away. Same applies if some idiot going the other way drifts into your lane.
        The older SUVs (I had a 2003 Mitsu Highlander) had higher ground clearance, but the newer ones generally don’t because the manufacturers have gone for the ‘sporty’ approach, so yes, you do need a truck. We get very sudden snowstorms with high winds which cause very rapid drifting, and the sedan I had before the better vehicles would get stuck at least once a year.

      • Cas127 says:

        “South…The roads are badly graded and flood frequently”

        Gross over generalization

    • Sexual sublimation. The automobile satisfies our sexual fantasies. America is the land of perennial adolescents, and fantasy is our culture. Women have lately joined the male power complex, and prefer huge SUVs, or big shoes. This is why the Japanese import was such a hard sell in the 70s, during the oil embargo. After the Covid lockdown the rush of pent up sexual energy into retail commerce, and jobs, and politics will cause all sorts of distortions.

      • Harrold says:

        Japanese cars were not a hard sell in the 1970s.

      • Nathan Dumbrowski says:

        Was in Florida helping a friend move. His lady friend took us out to eat and what happened caught me off guard. Mid 50s and was whooping at Big Trucks driving down the road. Said she preferred that to a Porsche. Asked if she was serious and she very affirmatively said she loves a man in a BIG truck. So a dose of reality from Florida

      • Cas127 says:

        In the Era of Infinite Free Internet Porn…I don’t think sublimation is a thing anymore.

    • Thomas Roberts says:

      raxadian,

      Alot of people who bought bigger cars and trucks who didn’t need them 20+ years ago, did so to feel more important, so yeah a status symbol. Those who bought them, also tended to behave more aggressively against smaller cars; this has led to an arms race, where people over time keep buying bigger cars. Most people, becoming larger and larger themselves over time also contributed.

    • Akaren says:

      Status definitely and morbid obesity

    • Eman says:

      Gimme a Honda Civic over anything else on the road! I relish zipping through traffic and parking in tight spaces most other automobiles can’t fit. Oh, and the money NOT going into my gas tank…

      • Phil Blythe says:

        I live in Alaska, and have always driven a compact car for every day. I had a’76 Blazer for a backup/snow vehicle for years. I bought it used for $1K. Now I have a ’11 Corolla and a ’08 Escape, both paid for. It’s the best pair of vehicles I’ve ever had.

    • Turtle says:

      My wife likes a big SUV because she likes riding up high. I don’t know why she likes riding up high, but I do too.

      I like a big SUV because I can fit a freaking boat and motor into it with the seats rolled down. Yes.

      I didn’t want a big SUV, but my wife did – so we got one. And I love it. I can’t imagine not having a big SUV.

      But I also want a car that can go 167 mph. That’s another question, though. I suppose the answer to your question is that we Americans excel in excess.

  2. MF says:

    It seems like a cross between a Jeep Gladiator and Renegade, both of which have been moderately successful, like Ford’s Ranger.

    My sense is that Ford wants to have a lower cost offering for the Tacoma shopper who ends up on a Ford lot comparing the Ranger.

    I’m betting that Ford is using this as a CAFE compliance model, much like GM used the late ’90s S-10 four cylinder (buh-WOOOOOO it said when you floored it with no discernible change in speed). They can hit it with as many incentives and relaxed lending standards as needed to ensure the CAFE average is at the right number each year.

    • Paulo says:

      I think you nailed it. My first truck was a Ford Courier, basically a cheap Mazda. It was a little 4 banger. I was 18 and used it for construction, hunting, etc. It was a noisy little piece of junk, but it worked just fine. A few years ago I went through every offering when I finally junked an ’86 Toyota. Every model you mentioned from Tacoma, Ranger, Renegade, were just too expensive. Too full of bling. Too fancy. Too expensive!! I suspect this new one will be the same. From what I could see in the article and adds it will come with surfboards, a cooler of Coors, 2 beach bunnies, and bluetooth up the ying yang. A truck it is not. It is a 4 door little crossover with an open back to fill up with snow and leaves. It may or may not one day be 4X4. It’s a front wheel drive beach car.

      A Tacoma can actually work and do truck things. A Renegade? Not too sure.

      It may serve a niche market for urban twenties and may even come with a plastic waving flower like the reincarnated VW bugs, but you won’t see it towing or hauling. I can see it in underground apartment lots.

      Yesterday unloaded a load of 20′ 2X8s and 4X4s (full size) from my 2002 GMC Sierra. The material fit quite nicely above the rack and over the tailgate. The mileage……maybe 20 per US gallon. The aluminum tool box attached to the headache rack holds all my ropes and straps, emergency supplies and tools, with LED work lights. If I had this new offering I wouldn’t be able to do one thing with it beyond going to town for groceries. And where I live? You drive something like this you would be pointed at, laughed at, and ridiculed. “Has he lost his mind”?

      Paid 4K for the GM a few years ago, new condition. :-)

  3. MonkeyBusiness says:

    Americans go big or they go home.

    Someday in the distant future, they will go home big.

    • Thomas Roberts says:

      In a self driving taxi van. The van option will be cheaper than the truck.

  4. Depth Charge says:

    That’s not a truck, it’s a car with a box.

    • jrhill says:

      Depth Charge: I love that! Our car carries a ton of feed every other week up logging trails, all year round. That 4wd 1 ton car also has crank windows and manual door locks and is new. Its a pain to park though.

  5. Gattopardo says:

    “Look, I think it’s a good idea to sell new vehicles with lower price tags that the less-well-off consumers can afford and like to drive.”

    I agree IF we’re talking about quality vehicles that last. If they only have a life half that of cars that could 50% more, then it’s a waste (and more expensive to those less well-off consumers.

  6. Trucker guy says:

    Didn’t this happen in the run up to 08 with companies dropping econobox sedan models in favor for 3rd row seating SUVs, “Hummers,” and yet again bigger growing trucks?

    It’s all fine and dandy to get that initial 10 year car loan on a car that costs 4x your annual salary but as I see it, your cannabalizing your future finance for such a raw deal. As I recall some head muckity muck at ford said these super long loans will bankrupt consumers as trade-in gaps will end up burning what consumers can afford long term. Seems like a self-defeating move the auto industry is taking.

    1. Sell only high profit margin trucks and SUVs to Americans with stagnant wages.
    2. The only way to afford these are several year loans.
    3. The car quickly becomes worth less than the loan terms.
    4. You get stuck with the option of keeping it and throwing bad money after bad or you trade in for a crappier car at the same or higher payment.

    I’d invest in those gap insurance scams personally. Because “This time is different!” and cars last about twice as long as they did in the 70s so clearly they’re worth 10 times as much.

    • Augustus Frost says:

      It’s another manifestation of the all-everything bubble. Artificially cheap credit and lax credit standards enabling people who can’t afford it to spend above their means, again.

      • Thomas Roberts says:

        ^^this^^

        Overall, for GM and Ford, I’d say they are setting themselves up for a worse situation than the 70s or ’08. They have a declining global marketshare as well. They are the bailout Queens. I’m sure they are counting on that.

        Also, pickup trucks have to made in America. Another one of their bailouts.

        • Sailorgirl says:

          I think everyone here has it wrong. I think this is a great entry truck for a 16 year old but I think since this truck is built in Mexico that they are gearing towards the SA export market. While in Buenos Aries four years ago I was surprised to see all of these European
          Pick up trucks. I mean a Renault Duster. Manual transmission, seated 5 and the bed was just 4’6”. Will not carry plywood but plywood is not really a building material in SA. At least for the little guy who builds his house as funds become available one brick at a time. It will fit farm supplies, bricks and concrete. Everyone loves a Ford Pick up but most of the world can not buy those big babies even a used one. I think there is a huge demand for the right truck.

        • Thomas Roberts says:

          Most people aren’t commenting on the truck in question, they are commenting, on the trend in general, of Americans buying bigger and bigger vehicles.

          As for that truck, it could be a useful niche truck, but the base trim only pulls 2,000 pounds and it isn’t very practical for most who are using it as an actual work truck. Had they made the upgraded trim with 4,000 pound towing capacity standard. It would be a better vehicle. 3K as standard might have sufficed as well. Buying a used bigger truck makes far more sense for anyone using it for work. If you aren’t using it for work, it’s not a very practical vehicle either.

      • Mira says:

        Why begrudge someone just because they can’t afford it .. so they default on the loan .. so what .. look up & see those who can afford & see them default big .. it’s always the little guy who has to do the right thing.

  7. Frank says:

    Japanese manufacturer’s seem to be doing ok selling sedans. Maybe it is just that the US sedans are a lesser product in comparison.
    More competition would bring down truck prices as well as bring more interesting products to market (as well as improve the dismal quality of US trucks). The 25% tariff!!! on imported trucks needs to go.
    “Since the 1960s, the “chicken tax” has been repealed on most of those goods, but the tax on importing pickup trucks still remains.”

    • Trucker guy says:

      It’s a good thing the pickup truck crowd is xenophobic towards the Japanese offerings, otherwise I think the us truck market would have absolutely cratered. I worked at a company that had 12 Tundra service trucks. Outside of normal maintenance, I saw one need an oil pan gasket, one need a valve cover gasket and a radiator hose and that was it. My Tacoma I only put in a slave cylinder and set of u joints, and I abused that truck. I had a Nissan hardbody running at 307k before I sold it still running.

      Meanwhile the company had about 35 f-350s and had transitioned to 20 2500 Silverados in 2017. The Fords were in the shop nonstop and the Silverados for being literally brand new had already developed some issues. American vehicles have come a long way but they’re, at least of the vintage I’ll buy; still vastly inferior to Toyota. I would never own an American made sedan from any period unless it was free. Who in their right mind would take a Monte Carlo or Dart when you could buy a Camry or Civic? Maybe things have changed in the past decade; I don’t know, that’s too new for my wallet.

      • Mike G says:

        My parents’ car recently blew an engine. I was dreading used car shopping for them after everything I’d read here about skyrocketing prices and low availability. However, they’re old-school and like sedans. SUV/crossover prices were through the roof as expected but sedans much better value as most people consider them “out of style” (who cares). Got a good deal on a sporty sedan they now love.

      • gnokgnoh says:

        The Tacoma is not a sedan with a box. It really is a truck, drives like a truck, hauls like a truck. My friend and I throw our mountain bikes on the back of his truck to head to the trails. I suspect that the Ford Maverick drives like a lot of the crossover hybrid SUVs. They’re not trucks. I used to own a Nissan XTerra, which is an SUV truck. Huge difference, rides rough, hauls anything, 4×4, took it off road a lot.

        The double cabs are super popular because they can double as the family vehicle, even if the leg space in the back is limited.

      • Depth Charge says:

        “It’s a good thing the pickup truck crowd is xenophobic towards the Japanese offerings, otherwise I think the us truck market would have absolutely cratered.”

        Not sure what you’re even talking about here. The Tacoma and Tundra are hugely popular in the US. But they’re not work trucks. Not even close. The domestic manufacturers still own that market. Show me a Japanese truck that can commercially haul 20,000 lb RVs across the country for a million miles on the same engine, differential, transfer case, etc. You can’t because it doesn’t exist. You have some decent posts, but you also pull a lot of stuff out of your rear end. Stick to facts.

      • Mira says:

        My Kingswood Station Wagon was stolen & crashed into a pole .. joy riders .. with my car !! .. Peter my 18 year old & his buddy with no mechanical training to speak of .. petrol heads .. towed it to his back yard & put a new front end on it for me .. Hey !!

    • Wolf Richter says:

      Frank,

      “Japanese manufacturer’s seem to be doing ok selling sedans.”

      No, the Japanese sedan sales are way down too. They all switched to SUVs and trucks also. That’s what’s selling the best.

      However, Honda and Toyota have committed to keep producing cars; Ford, Chrysler, and increasingly GM have walked away from cars. And the few cars that are being sold today are mostly foreign brands (many assembled in the USA).

      • Trucker guy says:

        Isn’t this a bit myopic to only consider what America is doing? I don’t know if the big pickup love is as popular elsewhere and the US makes a small portion of total population.

        Maybe the Japanese have a good idea here and aren’t gutting their diverse product line to be a one trick pony. My understanding is that GM makes more money selling SUVs in china than any other specific market sector but I don’t know. I’m sure Toyota makes a large portion of their income selling econoboxes to Europe, Asian, South American, etc.

        • Wolf Richter says:

          Trucker guy,

          We’re talking about the US here, and the US auto market. That’s the only thing this was about. That was the topic of the article.

          The Japanese auto market is entirely different. The most popular vehicles are the “minis” with 650cc engines (mid-size motorcycle engine). They aren’t even sold in the US.

        • polecat says:

          Wolf, I would love to get one of those minis, if priced reasonably. We’re currently riding Hubbert’s bumpy plateau; not as yet seeing the resource cliff on the map! Should gas prices rise to unseen levels, owning a F- Humongous might not be such a great survival strategy.

        • fajensen says:

          In japan they sell a kind of mini-lorry, it is a tiny thing that will just about park everywhere and one can still haul stuff on it. Being a cute looking car, I think that would sell in Europe, but, Toyota disagrees.

  8. gerry says:

    The Maverick is a loss leader to get customers in the Ford showroom in 2022. Look at all the free publicity Ford is getting from this announcement. And I must have missed all the news on what auto companies are doing with the excess inventory they have parked in lots like the ones I passed by Roosevelt Field in Westbury, L.I.

    • Wolf Richter says:

      gerry,

      That’s not “excess inventory.” Those are vehicles with missing components due to the chip shortage. As soon as they get the components in (mirror assembly?), they’ll install them and send the vehicles to the dealers. Plenty of reporting on it, directly from the automakers too. This is a big issue and well-known.

      • Jeff says:

        Yes. My anecdote: new car dealerships closest to me: Toyota, Chevy, Jeep, Dodge, Nissan, GMC – all lots seem to be at about 20% capacity. I’ve never seen these lots so empty ever before, nothing even close.

        For whatever reason, the Honda dealer’s lot is at close to normal capacity, at least just me eyeballing it.

  9. Seneca’s Cliff says:

    If you are going to make a car with a small box ,just go ahead and bring back the “Ranchero” or the “El Camino”. It’s funny how back in the 70’s actual ranchers purchased these car-like trucks because they wanted to seem more like city folks. But now city folks who live in condos and tract houses buy giant trucks so they can pretend they are “ranchers”. And back in the 70’s the only people who drove crew cab pickups were loggers and they called them “ crummies”.

    • BuySome says:

      “Now let me show you something new on the lot. This baby packs a full twelve volts under the hood and has more pulling power than that Energizer Bunny!” Hmm, maybe bringing back that Falconchero ain’t such a bad idea after all…or perhaps the Ranch Wagon?

    • Mike G says:

      This class of sedan-front-with truck-bed vehicles faded out in the US remained very popular in Australia (“utes”), more so than pickup trucks, at least for private non-commercial customers.
      Originally developed as a version of the Model T for farmers who wanted a useful farm vehicle also “respectable” enough to drive to town and to church.

      • Wolfbay says:

        We have a Chevy truck but also a Subaru Baja with 240,000 miles. We use it on the farm a lot when we don’t need the big truck. Even though it’s basically a car it’s very useful and we’d consider buying the new Ford Ute.

    • KGC says:

      The Ranchero and El Camino dies because they were “cars”, not “trucks” and required to meet the safety and EPA regulations of “cars”. If the Federal Gov’t had required all motor vehicles to meet the same regulatory standards over the last 30-40 years trucks would not have become the sales leader they are now.

    • Nathan Dumbrowski says:

      El Camino…the mullet of cars. Business in the front and party in the back!

  10. Hernando says:

    I would definitely consider buying this – cool a Prius like truck

    The only problem is that fords break at 80000 miles where Toyota’s break just after 150000

    • Petunia says:

      We owned a bunch of Ford SUVs, probably the full lineup. By 100K miles they are finished. You can hear them coming for blocks. With one Mercury Cougar we traded in at slightly over 100K miles, we were literally praying it wouldn’t die as we drove it to the dealer. I will never buy Ford again.

      • Phil says:

        I’m driving a Honda Fit right now with 250,000 miles on it, and I never did any repairs to it except brakes, oil, tires, and exhaust. The engine purrs like a kitten.

      • ram says:

        FORD ==> Fix Or Repair Daily

  11. Janna says:

    For me, a larger vehicle provides just a little more protection against crazy, careless, and uninsured drivers. I have been hit twice in less than 4 years…sitting still…at red lights. I have a larger used vehicle. I would love to drive a smaller, cheaper car, but I don’t want it to become my coffin.

    • Ross says:

      One of my favorite expressions is, ” a big car is cheap insurance on your life”

    • Ridgetop says:

      Ditto, especially with all the full size SUV’s and Trucks running around.

      If they make the 4 door ranger or Tacoma an hybrid, that may be a good balance between gas mileage and size.

    • Mira says:

      That’s it .. yep.

  12. Mean Chicken says:

    If not turbo, might be a decent vehicle. I really like a V6 but if you’re gonna tow anything like a boat a V8 is the ticket. Well, a V6 can handle a small boat…

    • andy says:

      I just don’t understand how can anyone settle for less than X16.

    • Jeff says:

      Hmm. Seems that a properly designed turbodiesel is the way to go.

      Even a little 3.0L I-4 of that sort can tow 5,000 pounds.

  13. Seneca’s Cliff says:

    Maybe Ford executives know something their customers don’t about where fuel prices are going in the next year or so. If fuel gets to $10 a gallon or so these Mavericks might still be selling while the crew cab fuel guzzlers are being parted out to keep the old ones running during the never-ending chip shortage.

    • Auldyin says:

      SC
      I’m looking forward to seeing what all those owners of huge trucks will say (or do!) when uncle Joe comes back from the G7 and tells them all that he’s signed up to the ‘climate’ accord and they must wipe out their carbon footprint by 2030 or whenever. Do they carry hunting guns in their trucks?

  14. hernando says:

    Just watched the youtube on this and it is great! I don’t need one or will buy one, but this is a cool vehicle. Only problem is that it is a Ford… but if I were in the market for an electric or hybrid… I would look at this truck for sure.

    • endeavor says:

      The 2.5 eng/hybrid (Toyota designed)has a great track record as taxi’s in New York. Holds it’s own with Japanese hybrids. I agree truck will appeal to a younger demographic but I asked 3 boomer friends and they could see themselves in it. As the cost of living soars many people will have to stop down in vehicle expenses. Most will lease because used vehicles will be a real risk with all the costly tech that could break so a new vehicle at a used car price may be a winner. I predict surprising demand for the Maverick.

  15. Curious says:

    Trucks are not so much a status vehicle as an image one. It serves for all but construction and home repair folks what blue jeans once did for the office worker, to imply they have a physical job, not one behind a desk. Some new models will likely include a few add-on pseudo-work dings and scratches, plastic lumber racks, and a gun rack, which will be used to hang their coats. Sort of like paying extra for faded blue jeans, patches, or knee rips. All image – make-up and wigs for wannabe tough folks.
    I’ve owned everything from BMW’s, sports cars, SUVs, and three trucks over the years. Having large dogs meant the SUV’s were ideal, for most things, including hauling.
    But for anyone who says they want a truck for normal use, I always ask why. IMO, they can’t really be used except in limited work situations, since you can’t place anything in the back and park it in public. Whatever you put there, will be stolen in too many places, even over a 5-minute restroom stop. That means no bikes, food, toys, furniture, nada. Gone, baby gone. And even dogs are a bad idea.

  16. KG says:

    The public has been denied a truly economical pickup for far too long. The attraction was price and MPG. Sorry, but the Colorado/Dakota/Frontier/new Ranger & Tacoma, et al, forced on buyers were overpriced gas guzzlers and very poor substitutes for an economical vehicle with a bed. The mini trucks of the past were a boon for small business people (read that sentence again).
    I predict this good looking Maverick will sell like hotcakes.

    • wkevinw says:

      The Maverick is sized very similar to previous “small trucks”, so there really isn’t that much new there. The weight is, however, much lower. With air bag technology for safety and new engine/trans technology, power, mpg, etc., it seems like an interesting vehicle.

      The older very small trucks, e.g. 4 cyl Toyotas, were excellent. Most people aren’t/weren’t aware that the mpg for those things were/are poor for such a small engine.

      The CAFE standard vs profit margin game is complicated.

      (Note- I have often wondered why they wouldn’t put a small v6, such as the GM sedan family v6 ~3.1L in a truck. Lower torque, good power, but way better mpg. The Maverick looks like a step in that direction).

      Longevity and toughness is important for an American truck- why the F150 and Silverado are winners in the useful lifetime stats.

      • Anthony A. says:

        The Maverick’s competition will be the new Hyundai Santa Cruz small pickup due to come out anytime now. It’s pretty much the same size as the Maverick, but dies not have a hybrid option. Pricing will be about the same, low $20’s in low trim configuration.

  17. Educated but Poor Millennial says:

    Honda Fit, Toyota Yaris, Ford Fiesta,Ford Focus, Mazda2, all where good selling cars , the manufacturers ditch them out because cost of production is almost same with more pticier crossover , so why not just push the buyers to buy more trendi and expensive crossover and suv with at least $ 10K more money.

    • Whatsthepoint says:

      My millennial daughtet just got her first car…a Toyota Yaris….and is already in love with it…

      • Fat Chewer. says:

        There is now a Yaris Cross which is a tiny SUV. You can get them in hybrid versions too. Talk about Toyota knowing it’s market. Yes folks, even this ol’ stick in the mud is vaguely interested, but I am not completely sold on the usefulness of an SUV to start with. The advertising tells me that I am more likely to go on random outings far out into the bush just for the hell of it. It sounds fun, but is that really true? ?

    • Paulo says:

      Getting some P maint done on our 2009 Yaris this coming Friday. We hope to keep it for another 12 years. And you know what? My obese neighbour can slide into the front seat no problem. (I take him to medical appointments). Wife jumps in the back on those days. Great little car. We just fold fold the back seats down for big stuff, and I can squeeze 10′ trim into it from the back and along the shifter. And by trim I mean woodwork stuff…not the :-)

    • Socal Rhino says:

      I drove a Fit for 8 years and loved it, cheap overall cost to owg for a daily commute (purchase, insurance, fuel, etc.) and easy to park. Sat high for a car, overall great visibility so the dog loved riding in it. Only downsides were that everything including the battery and tires were custom (small) sizes to reduce weight, so a bit expensive to replace, and my wife found it terrifying on the 5 freeway with all the SUV drivers weaving in and out.

  18. Steve Sovring says:

    I I am a used truck dealer 20 years specializing in small trucks mostly Ford rangers late 90s to 2011. City government vehicles I recondition myself and they are top sellers. They last and I’m glad Ford brought the ranger back. Though not quite as good as the Japanese and Toyota’s for the price they’re actually a better deal. I can’t even get any of the old Toyotas anymore. My motto is I don’t just give people what they want I give them what they need and they need small trucks that last. If Ford can make a long lasting small truck that gets high mileage for cheap that’s exactly what a lot of people need. When you give people what they need they come around and realize what’s good for them and I would expect this vehicle to sell if there’s any quality to it like the old rangers. If Ford wants to go back doing its part to make this country good they should make something like this because people need it and make their money off their big stuff and help people out on this one just like the old days before corporate greed ruined good American Business practice of sharing and taking care of people. I’ve learned over the last 20 years and if you take good care of people, the money comes.

    • Educated but Poor Millennial says:

      Don’t agree, Why we need trucks?
      I am not a construction worker, hunter, or farmer and have sheep to ship around, lol?
      The US is a manipulated market, where “needs” are replaced by “wants”.
      I have been in different countries, in Europe and Asia. They think better once they want to select a car they need.

  19. Ronin says:

    I’ve said for years public transportation is unworkable in the US because of easy access by ghetto goblins. Anyone who can possibly afford a car will buy one to avoid being a statistic.

    Until we actually start brutally punishing crime we will continue to drown in this atomization you speak of.

    • Miatadon says:

      We already brutally punish crime in comparison to other countries, and all it does is create a police state and very high incarceration rates that costs all of us to maintain. Perhaps we should offer economic opportunities and a decent life to poor people instead.

  20. wifeneedsatruck says:

    I think this is a winner. A good Looking, decently sized vehicle that provides all the capability that would likely satisfy 90% of the people driving around in 1/2 ton trucks today. Ford themselves are even saying they are marketing this to people who don’t realize they need a truck…and I gotta believe they are on to something.

    What I really think people don’t get is that these things are priced at compact car (Civic/Corolla) level money. I think there are a lot of people that would rather drive a compact truck that offers the same (or better) fuel economy and interior space, with truck styling and the capability (even if it is rarely/never used) of an open bed and optional AWD/4k lb towing capacity. Especially when you consider the footprint is similar to a full size car (Avalon/Charger) for those living where parking is a concern.

    Really the only thing they are missing that is stopping me from going out and buying one to replace the wife’s 2012 Rav 4 is a PHEV model that has similar performance numbers to the Rav 4 Prime (e rear axle and that sweet sweet acceleration/$7500 tax credit that comes with a 15+ kWhr battery). Please Ford, hear my cries!

  21. andy says:

    Why is it bad guys in the movies always drive a black bmw or a mercedes suv. What message this sends to half-caff half-decaff prius crowd?

  22. Fat Chewer. says:

    You can add Australia to the list too. Yeah, the home of Crocodile Dundee.

    • NoPrep says:

      Paul Hogan was in the news recently. He’s angry at some homeless trespassers on his Venice Beach property..put up a sign telling them to scram. Cali is just so full it must be hard to keep em away when they like your nice property. Mr. Hogan should be able to afford more security.

  23. Miatadon says:

    Very eloquently written. You brought up social issues that I had never thought about before. Thank you!

  24. YuShan says:

    I’m always watching this in amazement, people buying expensive cars on credit.

    I have never had a car loan. My first car was a 1970’s model that was already 8 years old (and they still rusted a lot in those days). I had saved up money for quite some time to buy it (most of it with paper rounds, believe it or not, and doing holiday work in the garbage dept of a dairy factory, dealing with rotten milk all day). I drove it for 6 years, after which it became too expensive to fix. But by that time I had a proper job and had already saved up for my next car, which was also already 8 years old when I bought it.

    So the idea is that if you just save before you buy your first car, you’ll never need a car loan EVER because you will have saved enough by the time you need a new car.

    • Fat Chewer. says:

      Yes, exactly. Of course, it is terrible for your credit rating to buy with mere legal tender and thus it is frowned upon by our betters. This puts us into the category of “bad machines” as seen in Midnight Express. Or the Epsilons in Brave New World.

      BTW, can anyone explain what a risk-off correlation event is?

    • Auldyin says:

      YS
      You’re depriving the ‘Motor Industry’ of a large chunk of their income. I thought GM became effectively a finance company and that was what ‘creamed’ them i n the big crash.
      Around 2000 I bought a Nissan on 3 years interest free credit. I asked the dealer what discount he would give me for cash. He wouldn’t do it, go figure.

  25. Engin-ear says:

    Will the truck drivers buy it for personal transportation?

    Better they would to prepare themself for the future of EV transportation where the trucks (EV) will be shrinked to the baby size by the price of battery.

  26. Micheal Engel says:

    1) Fake trucks for $50K or $20K. It’s a hybrid between SUV and a bed, in bold blue or red.
    2) Gasoline engine is an option. EV another option. Hybrid to charge a little more than gasoline engines.
    3) The chart above show that truck sales are stalling and falling. Down from 12.3M in 2019 to 11M in 2020, before the “fish & chips” shortages.
    4) Ford Maverick name is 50y old. RIP in 1979. Ford Maverick 2022 is for old and obese with less money.
    5) Most Subaru customers are not bird watchers. They are aging upper middle class in Starbucks, men and women for frappuccino & puppuccino.
    6) F- trucks to F..the Tesla customers. Maverick EV will compete with Tesla Model 3.
    7) Car sales low @3.3M in 2020 is a springboard. Ford mgt fickle.

  27. zagonostra says:

    Why can’t someone recreate the small first generation Toyota Tacoma pickups. Anytime I see one for sale it gone within hours? Seems to me there is a market there that no one has the ability to take advantage of.

    • Bet says:

      I had a 1 ton little Tacoma back in the eighties. Loved it. Body was a bit tinny but could pull a loaded two horse trailer with no problem. I loved my loaded Chevy S 10 PU as well. Small PU? Sure. I am interested. Will still keep my 2000 tundra workhorse though

  28. Micheal Engel says:

    8) : car dealers consolidation is next. The banks will force
    them to merge. Too many large pickup trucks unsold.

  29. Throop says:

    Little people like me could never afford a new car but I do like the Rangers.

  30. David Hall says:

    Good deal. I think they will sell. I bought a basic new Toyota 1/2 ton pickup truck in 1989 for $7500.

  31. timbers says:

    Count me as one who despise the trend toward very much too large vehicles.

    1). I drive a Prius C. When I come to an intersection and the person in front is stopped because he wants left turn and waits for oncoming traffic to pass, my car is small enough to easily go around them and continue forward and allowing the traffic behind me to flow, too.

    Not so with all these big-arse totally inappropriate oversized Elephant-biles hogging the road. The are SSSSOOOOO overly broad tall and huge, they are often too big to pass and must wait – blocking saner drivers such as myself and forcing us to wait for their huge space hog vans. (also, am constantly amazed at the number of folks who drive so close behind vehicle in front of them the they get stuck and can’t turn around them because almost NO space in front to turn, should front vehicle suddenly decide to make a turn but must wait for oncoming traffic. Nuts!)

    2). I used to move to right or left at stopped intersection because for example if I turn left, I leave space on the right so the vehicle behind can go right. Allows for more efficient traffic flow.

    No more! Now I hog the space, positioning my Prius C so no one can use space on either side, because today’s greedy hog vehicle American drivers in there Elephant Vans are so big and tall, they block my view to left/right of oncoming traffic, thus the Hog Vehicle effectively takes my right of way away from me and my Prius!

    It’s a war, folks!

  32. Brant Lee says:

    Still another pickup good for anything except hauling building materials and working out of. Not that anyone can afford plywood and lumber these days but that was the original purpose of pickups.

    I must say a big ol Ford F150 sure feels good when you sink down into the seats while riding high down the road. I’m glad it’s my brother-in-law making the payments when he takes me to breakfast once in a while.

    • BuySome says:

      Pick-ups were originally very small and designed for things like carrying bales of hay or going to market, transporting hands to the fields, acting as tow vehicles, or carrying small tools and machinery (good for your local plummer too). Panel trucks were used for moving longer stuff and storage of that which should not be exposed (pie wagon, drugs, etc.). It was many years before anyone thought a rolling garbage scow with crap flying out the back and unstable loads was going to be acceptable (responsible operators with proper procedures excluded) or common in the driveways beyond the dirt roads.

  33. The acid test for any serious truck owner, even if it is us mostly price challenged ones, is the length of the truck bed and if you have more than 2 ft. of overhang over the open tailgate with 8 foot lumber or the ubiquitous 4×8 sheet of plywood that acts as a sail at 60 mph, you will only be a FRUSTRATED TRUCK OWNER.

    54 inches is the new Maverick bed length, 4.5 ft. when my 2010 Ranger XL 2.3L has a 6 foot bed and 1 foot long tailgate when open. Wood products not too much of a challenge, but securing same is always a challenge.

    This is similar to the Subaru Baja, which I think is extinct for new sales since 2007, but it also had a tiny bed truck with a 41.5 inch bed. When you buy groceries in a pouring rainstorm, are you really going to put $150 worth of food out to get wet? Great for dry, cold weather shopping. Covers will be popular. A nice Yuppy ride, but not for the serious do-it-yourselfer. Just bring back the Pinto Ford, maybe for the Fourth of July.

    • endeavor says:

      Read that there is hardware in the bed for a large selection of bolt on accessories. Possible a item to increase workability of the bed may emerge.

    • Boomer says:

      Not only the short bed, looks like most of the weight of the 8′ lumber and plywood is cantilevered behind the rear wheels. Interior looks cheap, not USA built.

      Always believed in a 2 vehicle solution. Cheap fuel efficient small car, now probably EV and a real truck like F150, 250, 359 with a regular cab and 8′ bed. XL trim with crank windows that still roll down in an emergency and a true bench seat.

  34. Micheal Engel says:

    They are as big as garbage trucks.

  35. Paulo says:

    Time to move, Felix. Sounds like no place to remain.

  36. Turtle says:

    I was pretty surprised to see the Maverick announcement because it wasn’t too long ago that Ford re-launched the Ranger. Gotta admit the Hyundai Santa Cruz looks pretty cool (even smaller than the Maverick, I think) and Koreans are making fine automobiles these days. To me it seems more an El Camino than an actual pickup truck and I’ll bet the 300 hp version will be a fun “car”. Lovers of the extinct Subaru Baja might enjoy it with AWD too.

  37. John Beech says:

    Late 70s to early 80s, working to earn my engineering degree in Tuscaloosa for Boozer Motor Co. There I learned the ins and outs of selling new Datsuns and Volvos (and more importantly for my economic well being), used cars.

    Graduating amidst the recession of ’82 with no job offers saw me move to Birmingham to hustle for Bart Starr Lincoln-Mercury, Honda, Jaguar, Saab . . . and a distinctly different client, the buyer of American iron. Still good for me, the used car customer (and Honda buyers in the thrall of a superb auto), which kept me afloat. Them, plus the occasional home run like a pair of his and hers Cartier Town Cars to an older gent and his wife who for reasons unknown adored me and traded every six months (oil money) and Jaguar aficionados – did you know the V-12 in the XJS displaced the same 327ci as a lot of Chevies of the ’60s? Silky smooth at 120mph where I closed a handful of deals, but I digress.

    Our ‘deal’ wasn’t the Fiesta but the Town Car with velour interior and wire wheel hub caps which Frank (sales manager) advertised for $15.888 in the Birmingham New. This, because it brought the wannabe Lincoln-owners into the store in droves (black folks and recently retired steel workers, e.g. hard working people closer to the bottom of the rung than the top). On these, we earned a flat $100 commission so we worked HARD to move them to something we actually made money on), but again, I digress.

    Trucks then, were the purview of fleet sales (and as a LM dealer we had a tie in with Ford for these) and one Sunday (I hated working seven days a week but on commission you do what needs must) I made my first fleet sale. Guy comes in (I had the key to the building as nobody else worked unless they were starving so it was usually just me) and his truck looked like shite. He wore overalls and dusty boots he’d not bothered to draw the laces on that morning, maybe ever, and we yakked a bit and hit it off. Less than ten minutes later, I’d sold 30 trucks earning a commish of $250 for each. Talk about seeing the light, I soon thereafter took up cold calling business (working the yellow pages backwards from Z to A figuring everybody else did it the conventional way) and economically was soon in high cotton because truck sales were easy!

    Anyway, regarding Mavrick sales? Hmmm . . . nope! In fact, I’m put in mind of the Volkswagen front wheel drive unit body pickup based on the Golf, which went nowhere fast (figuratively and literally). So I’ll predict the same for this effort, but who knows, maybe Ford is crazy like a fox. Doubt it. Me? I’m thinking Ford will pull the plug on this effort, or what sells will be AWD versions because unless you can put a legitimate ton in them and get big MPG, maybe ‘only’ fleet guys will buy them! Latte drinking Millennials? No, I don’t really think l so.

    Anyway, a few years later, an engineering job beckoned and I was off like a shot to 5-days a week with a regular salary. Today, owner of three small businesses, my love-me wall has diplomas and a small handful of Salesman of the Month plaques – and I cherish them. As for car sales, I sure as Hell only miss them on the odd occasion (principally reminiscing about friends and folks I met and got to know) because I’ll be damned if I can say I really miss the car business. Not fun then.

    • nick kelly says:

      Sounds like you and WR could share more war stories, although I think he was management. Be funny if one of you sold the other his car.

    • Auldyin says:

      JB
      Jag v12’s and 60’s Chevy v8’s keep talking and play the Beet Farmers ‘Blue Chevrolet’ over it.

  38. MiTurn says:

    This new Maverick will be a best-seller. The two-wheel-drive version has the fuel economy of a small car, it has four doors and can seat five, and it’s versatile — especially for folks who enjoy ‘active, outdoor lifestyles.’

    It’s a one-fit-all design.

    • Anthony A. says:

      Hyundai Santa Cruz small PU is going to be the competition for it. Both about the same except that the SC won’t have a hybrid option. I believe Ford will outsell it based on that alone.

  39. Anon1970 says:

    For most of the 1970’s, Ford sold a compact car called the Maverick but the nameplate disappeared after 1977. The subcompact Ford Pinto was discontinued after the 1980 model year. I can’t imagine a typical obese boomer getting into a Pinto these days.

    • Wolf Richter says:

      Anon1970,

      “I can’t imagine a typical obese boomer getting into a Pinto these days.”

      I can’t imagine ANYONE getting into a Pinto these days, least of all an obese millennial or gen-Z-er.

      • Educated but Poor Millennial says:

        ?
        I had 2004 Mazda be 3 Hatchback Manual for 16 years until last September. Even I installed a tow hitch on it. Very practical , fun, economical zippy car that I regret selling it. On a Black Fryday , I bought a 65” Samsung Tv . I pulled my seats forward , folded the back seats, then I laid the tv box flat on the floor of the car. I got impressed.
        I moved 3 times to another apartments and moved a tone of stuff. For sure I am not convinced that one day I would need SUV or truck to haul my stuff.
        I have been in Asia and Europe and have seen that people have better mentality about choosing cars for their needs.

    • Anthony A. says:

      Getting in is easy…it’s getting out that is the problem!

    • BuySome says:

      Early 70’s…friend’s mother, eight kids and big as a brewhouse frau, got to hell and back daily in a Pinto. The big difference today is that people got taller and needed leg room. And access to credit purchasing increased almost as fast as the tendency to whine about comfort for the tush. But fat has always been here…photographic evidence proves it. (Six kids and big dog in a Beetle isn’t something you’ll see nowdays, but it was possible once.)

    • Auldyin says:

      A
      Did some of the Edsel Ford bloodline get into the Design office for that model?

  40. Robert says:

    Why doesn’t anybody make small pick-ups like the 1985 Toyota SR5 anymore? Those were wonderful vehicles!

    It’s bizarre, at one point they were everywhere and now they’re all gone.

    • MiTurn says:

      Because even Toyota knows the market. From the perspective of logic, I agree with you. But automobiles are a viseral purchase, just coincidentally related to the need for transportation.

    • Seneca’s Cliff says:

      I fabricate metal parts for a young guy who designed and sells a retrofit cup holder for 1985 Toyota pickups ( might fit others also). His first order was for enough parts to make 250. I figured I would not see him again for a long time. But he returned a month later for another 250.

    • BuySome says:

      Back to the Future?

  41. Island Teal says:

    Good article and comments.
    John Beech working in the car business !!
    A Prius C driver commenting on good driving habits was the highlight. Most Prius drivers are afraid of putting it in “the red”.

  42. DR DOOM says:

    Every hillbilly where I live including my brother have been talking about the “China Truck” for months. To answer your question on a cheaper truck like the “China Truck” not loaded with bullshit that talks to lunch packers on where to eat ,HELL YES ! ! it will sell.

    • Seneca’s Cliff says:

      If Ford brought back a replica of the 1954 step side pickup with a modern drive train and crash protection but no gadgets it would be a huge hit.

      • BuySome says:

        Get in line…I’m waiting for the updated ’52 model year! A wagon will be just fine.

  43. Roadster44 says:

    Unless you’re regularly hauling something tall, dirty, smelly, or wet for a multiyear project, or as a business, I see no value in a pickup truck. Then there is the truck bed length, which people are increasingly and foolishly giving up for a crew cab setup.

    I’ve done my fair share of home rehab which included hauling drywall and lumber, taking water heaters/refrigerators to the scrap yard and I can say with absolutely certainty that importance of length of a truck bed far exceeds anything else, otherwise it’s a wasted space.

    I also take an issue with the high loading floor of a truck as opposed to a van such a Ford Transit. Lifting a 150 pound plumbing snake onto a truck is no picnic, whereas I could get it in by myself into an Impreza hatchback.

    Then there is the issue of winter, which requires throwing two 60 pound sandbags into the truck bed to keep the rear from sliding all over the place.

    A work van is heck of a lot more practical than a pickup truck, granted it doesn’t come across as a Tonka truck cool like, but those “in the know” always have a work van, rather than truck, and for recreational purposes, this still applies. A wagon, CUV/SUV, van 9 out of 10 times will be far more useful than truck.

    • lenert says:

      The other cool thing you can do with a pickup is leave stuff in the back you want stole.

      • BuySome says:

        And lots of room for the drive-by fast food garbage bag dumping…helps soak up that pool of old rain water.

    • Ridgetop says:

      Yep, the few times year I need a truck, I rent it from U-haul or Enterprise. Cheap!

  44. KGC says:

    It’s a TRUCK because that way it doesn’t have to meet the safety or EPA requirements of a CAR. That’s why trucks have been pushed, and that’s why they have a larger profit margin.

    If trucks had to meet the EPA requirements of cars that small truck that every MFR has wouldn’t have the same mileage as it did 25 years ago, it would have to do (at least) 40% better. It wouldn’t be bigger and heavier, and it wouldn’t sell as well.

    That 4 door Maverick shouldn’t be allowed to be classed as a truck, but the way the regs. are written it is. And nobody in the industry is going to fight harder to make sure there’s a difference in what’s allowed between truck and car classifications than Ford or Chevy, because that’s all that keeps them afloat.

    • Wolf Richter says:

      KGC,

      With the kind of engine it has (hybrid 4-cyl, 40 mpg in the city), it will be below all EPA requirements for cars and it will boost Ford’s CAFE rating.

  45. nick kelly says:

    My only real comment: how come the Japanese compete in the lux and big truck sector without abandoning their small cars. Don’t know if you ever had the Micra in US but the redesigned one in Canada looks cute and I see quite a few. The small Honda CRV (SUV type body on a Civic) is everywhere. Similar with SK, moving into lux but still small cars like Accent.

    Re: competing everywhere, how about Honda: as well as car and truck, ATV, bikes, generators, outboards etc.

    • Auldyin says:

      NK
      Suzuki makes money on cars so small that nobody can make money on. I bought a 10yr old Alto for less than a 2week hire and it was bombproof and cost free, so I ran it for 2yrs and sold it for my money back , best deal ever bar none.
      I would like one for each foot.

  46. SOL says:

    I bought a Toyota Camry hybrid with 50,000 miles for $7k last year. I hope this car lasts me through the apocalypse, which feels fairly close.

  47. Ethan in NoVA says:

    Awesome vehicle! I think there is a good chance it will have success. Obviously the under $20K is the model most people won’t end up with, the $30K one is.

    I drive a Frontier. For me, it gives me the ability to move pinball and arcade machines, I can haul wet scuba equipment without worry of trunk stink and move some AV hardware. I don’t really need to tow much. I’m sure there are other people that will be drawn in.

  48. When Ford deliberately pulls certain consumer models off the market, and the automobile market is a cultural national treasure, isn’t that a form of propaganda?

  49. Jos Oskam says:

    OK, taste is personal. But for me this Maverick is simply a butt-ugly toy truck for poseurs. A basic unibody front-wheel drive car dressed up to look like a serious vehicle. Like a Yugo with spoilers and side skirts.

    I wouldn’t want to be seen dead in one.

  50. Ridgetop says:

    The new Sienna hybrid gets 35 mpg, AWD, 245 hp, you can store several 4 x 8 sheets of plywood flat on the floor, no need to worry about getting bikes stolen. Save the truck for towing boats.
    Hmm seems like the best of all worlds? Wait no, its not cool to be seen in a soccer mom mini van!
    My wife did not want a mini van to replace our high mileage, too small for the kids 98 4 Runner. So I told her I will drive it. We bought one, six years later I wanted to sell it, she said no you don’t I love it, now she is driving it.

    “Form follows function!”

    • Anthony A. says:

      The “original” soccer moms drove 1980’s vintage Chrysler family minivans (Dodge, Chrysler, Plymouth). Those things were everywhere. Now they won’t be seen in one? LOL

      • BuySome says:

        Soccer mom’s were long known before they switched to the minivans. By the time a phrase becomes popular in the mainstream, it’s already dead in the subculture it came from. Ramping up was what you did to an auto when there was no access to a shop rack. But there’s always some clown who shifts the meaning and starts a trend that soon feels like nails in your ears. I’ll let you figure out what guys meant when they pointed out a female and said “nice shoes” to their friends…had nada to do with leather uppers.

    • SpencerG says:

      Form does follow function… eventually. Particularly if you are spending your own money rather than buying on loose credit.

      The truth is that for most families with more than one child, a minivan is the perfect vehicle. Plenty of room for kids and stuff… good gas mileage… lots of window space… good price point (although that has been edging up in recent years). Not the best acceleration but that can be fixed with an aftermarket turbo charger if you really, really need one.

      The only thing that slows sales down is the “I’m not a minivan kind of person” attitude. If you have more than one child… yes you are. And as you said… once you have one and get over that attitude.. you come to love the things.

  51. Nemo 300 BLK says:

    There’s another reason to buy fancy full-size high-dollar pickups that haven’t been mentioned, and that is the Section 179 tax deductions.

    Unless something has changed, the number one vehicle for millionaires is the F-150, and I’m sure it has to do with the depreciation you can take on it.

    Regarding the little Ford truck, I think they will sell the hell out of it based on the price point, but I wouldn’t own one. I’d spend the extra money on a Tacoma if I were shopping for that type of truck.

    • SocalJim says:

      “the number one vehicle for millionaires is the F-150”

      I live in Newport Beach where the price of a small old starter home is approaching 3M dollars, and while a few F150s are in the area, it is far closer to the bottom of the most popular list.

      I wonder how much Ford paid for that study.

      • Wolf Richter says:

        SocalJim,

        California is well-known to be the realm of Asian imports — and now Tesla too — and the realm of SUVs, not trucks. The most popular brands in Q1 and their market share in CA, which is why you’re not seeing many F-150s:

        Toyota: 18.1%
        Honda: 9.7%
        Ford: 8.6%
        Chevy: 7.0%
        Nissan: 5.6%
        Tesla: 5.3%

        In Q1, Tesla sold 26,000 vehicles in CA (per DMV registrations); Ford sold 13,000 F-series trucks. In San Francisco, the ratio may be much more in Tesla’s favor.

        In other states, this is not the case, however. If you’re millionaire in Texas, you’re likely to drive a nice truck and maybe have a Porsche in the garage for weekends.

        You lucked out because I just happened to be working on my next article about this topic :-]

        • Auldyin says:

          W
          In the early Z days Nissan had a design studio in San Diego (I have the baseball cap) to get the Zeds right for America.
          I wonder if it’s still there at 5.6%?

  52. Micheal Engel says:

    El Katz, what’s your opinion.

  53. Bruce Kebbekus says:

    Dollars to Donuts: Buyers will never see a $20K sticker. They will have almost $4000 dealer added markups and pinstriping.

  54. SocalJim says:

    Don’t know why Ford is bothering with low price tags. Inflation is out of control. A research report on Tuesday:

    “Deutsche Bank released a strong report on Tuesday blasting Joe Biden’s increased government spending and relaxed monetary policy which are driving the United States toward one of its worst periods of inflation in history.”

    • Wolf Richter says:

      SocalJim,

      Why didn’t they blast Trump’s policies to the same effect, including the #1 and #2 stimulus payments (=$2,000) and the extra $600 a week in federal UI, signed by him??

      • SpencerG says:

        The cynic in me says because they had loaned him so much money.

        The realist in me says that timing matters. Flooding the economy with cash when the economy is cratering is Keynesian Economics at its finest. Flooding the economy with cash when it is already recovering is Inflationary.

        The cynical realist in me says that Deutsche Bank is a creditor (to Trump and all the rest of its customers)… and creditors lose money when inflation spikes.

    • Auldyin says:

      SJ
      Did Deutsche Bank come out in the sun?
      I thought they were hiding behind a bush somewhere.

    • eg says:

      The inflationistas never tire of their one-note song, do they? And no amount of empirical evidence seems capable of altering it …

  55. John says:

    Wolf,
    Thanks for the info. Ford stock dropping tells it all. I personally don’t want that, I want the raptor, then again I don’t like the chip shortage. I wonder about quality control on those chips.

  56. SpencerG says:

    When I was getting my MBA at the University of Texas (98) the auto manufacturers were considered prime companies to work for and several recruited heavily there… including Chrysler and Ford. The warning we were given about Ford was that it was a car company that was run by the Corporate Finance people… not the marketing, design, or production people.

    I have owned Fords for most of my adult life (although not at the moment) so I have nothing against Ford… but you can see this focus on cost containment show up in the weirdest ways sometimes. Not only is Ford very rarely the winner of any design awards, they don’t refresh their auto designs very often either. The 1986 Eddie Bauer Bronco that I had was top of the line… but couldn’t hold a 16 oz soda in the bottles that were popular at the time… it could only hold a 12 oz can. Same goes for my 2001 Crown Vic… it couldn’t hold a 20 oz plastic soda bottle… 12 oz cans only. Both times it simply saved money for Ford to not update the plastic molded console which you would think would be rather cheap to do.

    I say all of this because this new truck may not be designed to do anything other than hit a regulatory metric for Ford in CAFE standards or something else that helps FORD’s bottom line. Let’s not assume that Ford’s Marketing people made the decision here because Ford knows something about the future of the truck market (or oil prices) that we don’t. Ford’s corporate finance people may have simply run the numbers and found a way to prevent some CAFE fines on their entire fleet.

  57. TheFalcon says:

    LOL the rebirth of the Ford Maverick name, they couldn’t leave it be.

    What is the market going to look like when the Mav hits the shelves en force?

    The numbers this year so far show 16 of the top 20 selling vehicles are trucks and SUVs.

    We could easily see the combination of rising oil prices/pump prices, higher interest rates, stimulus/benefits/moratorium expiration and resulting economic shocks result in another beatdown of the auto industry, centered on the large SUV and PU segments. It just was not that long ago that big rig sales volume plunged, along with profits, and a cascade of incentives was necessary to get people even mildly interested.

    History does not repeat itself but it sure does rhyme.

  58. joe2 says:

    I hit a big repair bill on my 18 YO 4 Runner so I went to look for a new one. All I heard was “shortages, no chips, prices up”. And found out what that meant – pay $55K sticker price for a new 4Runner. To be honest it was a Limited and a nice vehicle, but with taxes and collision insurance it would cost twice what I paid for my first house.

    So I went back to my garage guy and told him to make it run for another year. He said no problem $2500. I told that story to my friend living in Florida and he told me his car was a 1999 Chrysler Town and Country. Every time he thinks of getting a new one, he calculates the taxes.

    I figure in another year there will be plenty of these 15-17 miles per gallon SUVs at big discounts. Americans may love their big iron, but can they afford them?

  59. Auldyin says:

    “Americans love big expensive equipment.”
    It’s what the world knows and loves you for. The ‘car’ has been around long enough to get in the dna of nations. Globalisation tried to make us all the same but I hope it never will. You keep your big trucks and thank God you’ve still got a Musy.
    Cuba built a tourist industry on your old Chevy’s and Buicks and Packards and even Studebakers. Why don’t you make America great again and forget all the PC BS. Life is meant to be fun not a prison sentence.
    Just sayin’

  60. Marc D. says:

    I still prefer cars over trucks and SUVs, but I guess I’m in the minority in America nowadays.

  61. SBG.1 says:

    This is from a new truck owner (first time; two years ago):

    Ownership rules for new pickup owners:

    NOBODY borrows my pickup. NOBODY!!!

    I’m not a moving company.

    If you want me to provide the ‘mobility’ for moving something like river rock or sifted black dirt or some assorted trash, you first purchase a brand new ultra HEAVY DUTY truck tarp for my truck for my use.

    If you need to use my pickup to get something (like an auto part) and it’s just going to be ‘in town’, and it ends up being a 150-200 mile trip so you can save $25, don’t ever talk to me again. EVER. NEVER.

    I’m sure I’ll have more rules to add. Just have a plain old 9 year old RAM 1500 2 door pickup (big bed) and it’s job is to move stuff.

  62. GirlInOC says:

    Wolf, just an observation from the viewpoint of a parent with young kids on the need/want for bigger cars. In the past 10yrs or so there’s been a big push to keep babies & toddlers in carseats much longer than previous years. Specifically, babies used to be required to be “rear facing” for a year but now a lot of states require rear facing for 2yrs (& if not required, strongly recommended). Add to that an increase in awareness on how much safer younger kids are rear facing and so many families are now having a baby AND toddler in rear facing car seats along w/an older kid in a booster (it’s known as “extended rear-facing”). So yeah, 3 car seats in a small sedan is not very fun lol. ????

  63. eg says:

    I currently drive a sedan, but it will be my last. As I get older I find getting down into, and up out of it increasingly unpleasant. I will get something that I can sidle in and out of sometime in the next 5 years or less.

  64. kathy says:

    My husband will look at the new “baby truck” because our 1960 built house garage won’t house most of the larger platform trucks or SUVs. We own a couple townhomes built in 2008 and 2018 and neither would house the big pickups we see in our community. I’m on my 3rd Subaru Forester and the way it’s growing in length, I might not be able to buy the next biggie sized version. We don’t want to live in our vehicles – just get from here to there and do not want or need biggie sized.

  65. Mars says:

    Have an F-150 w/8′ bed and considering this as second vehicle for around town and pick-up a gallon of paint ;)

  66. ft says:

    The camper shell makers should do well selling units for this pseudo truck.

  67. mark says:

    Yes, it’s a status symbol. Watch my neighbors fight when someone parks too close to their truck. The truck that never hauled anything in the bed, because that might scratch it. Even the guy with the 40 year old truck pays a fortune to get it painted and chromed up, like it’s his peacock feathers.

    When people around here move, they rent a U Haul truck. They might put a few boxes in an SUV, but the major move is via the rental.

    To appeal to a more frugal customer, leave the truck/suv size intact. Get rid of the junk options. Nobody needs the radio keyless entry, automatic doors/windows, lane following or fancy entertainment center that doesn’t even have a CD player. Eliminate all the computers, except for basic fuel injection/timing. I mostly hear complaints about all this junk.

  68. Mira says:

    I just had a look – 4 door .. it looks like a reworked station wagon .. it’s good in that you can pile the cargo up high in the back.

  69. Mira says:

    The Ford Fiesta looks like a compact frog / toad .. maybe if it were a more sporty looking vehicle ??

  70. Mira says:

    Concept cars .. Renault Trezor released in 2016 in Paris .. it also looks like a frog .. but with more pizzazz.
    We just want the look here .. a shape change.

  71. ft says:

    Ford’s new “little” truck is getting a lot of pre-production press. If you take it for what it is instead of trying to compare it to other trucks, it starts looking pretty good. I think I want one.

Comments are closed.