Buyer Excitement Forces Ford To Cut Off Orders For The Sought-After Maverick
When was the last time you heard of a manufacturer cutting off orders because it has hit the buildout bump stop? It's not something that you even read about every day, but that is the situation at Ford where the automaker has cut off orders for its highly sought-after small, affordable pickup, the Maverick.
It is little wonder that the Maverick is popular as it has already won major awards.
Whether it is major award like the North American Truck/Car Award of the Year or another award or KBB Honors the Maverick is a solid pickup.
Maverick Becomes An Instant Hit
Ford rolled out the Maverick last spring. It was an instant hit. It is the only pickup on the market with a base model at a base price in the mid-$20s. The base price, alone, sparked massive interest in the unibody-construction pickup. Like its Bronco counterpart, the Bronco Sport, the Maverick uses unibody-construction techniques. The result is a very stable package.
Ford's move to curtail customer orders is highly unusual, according to the online forum, the Mavericktruckclub.com notes. The site says it is a "sign that American shoppers are hungry for more-affordable options as prices for new cars and trucks hit new records, and availability remains" low on dealer lots.
On Monday, Ford dealers heard from the automaker about the halt in customer orders, and the automaker blamed it on the strain it faced trying to meet customer demand. According to the Wall Street Journal, Ford noted that order-taking will resume for the 2023 Maverick during the summer.
"We didn't want to take more orders than we could build," said Dean Stoneley, general manager of Ford trucks. "We're getting customers who would have perhaps bought a used car and are now buying the Maverick because it is so affordable."
Vehicle Price Rise Leaves Few Entry-Level Choices
The "strong reception for the Maverick … comes as" vehicles prices have risen sharply, leaving few entry-level choices for customers, dealers and analysts told the Maverick forum\
Even before pandemic-related semiconductor shortages and other disruptions had caused manufacturers to cut back on their new-vehicle production schedules and had thus sent vehicle pricing rocketing skyward, new-vehicle prices were already up sharply. J.D. Power, a research firm, put the average price increase jump at 13 percent, reaching an average of $40,457.
Indeed, dealers are struggling to rebuild their inventories as the industry continues to be affected by the ongoing semiconductor shortage. It is more challenging for shoppers to afford new wheels for customers than ever. Against this background, Ford dealers told the forum that the Mavericks that arrive on their lots already are effectively not there, earmarked, as they are, earmarked for customers who preordered them.
Shutting off customer orders is unusual, said Chris Lemley, president of Sentry Auto Group, a Boston-area Ford-Lincoln-Mazda dealership. "But it's appropriate under the circumstances to avoid customer disappointment." Most Mavericks are selling in the mid-to high-$20,000 range, Mr. Lemley said. "We desperately needed something in that price range," he said.
Ford's decision to roll out the Maverick couldn't have happened at a more opportune time. The automaker needed an affordable alternative. The F-150s and other pickups that dominate the market are expensive, often starting at well over $50,000, and this has led many truck buyers to migrate to the Maverick.
Ford Drops Affordable Cars From Lineup
Last fall, Maverick's introduction of an affordable pickup followed the automaker's decision to eliminate affordable vehicles from its product mix four years ago. Cars like the Focus and the Fiesta had served as cheap entry points to Ford's lineup. Though Ford execs called them money losers, the forum noted, they still brought people into the Blue Oval family. Frustrated dealers saw the move as leaving them few options for less than $30,000.
Cox Automotive noted five nameplates in the U.S. now priced at $20,000 or less, down from 19 affordable marques a decade ago. Affordability took a real hit last month. Cox Automotive and Moody's Analytics noted the number of weeks income to purchase a new vehicle hit 43 weeks last month. A decade ago, the number of weeks of income needed to purchase a new car averaged between 32 and 36 weeks. The big jump occurred in 2020.
Also, the average monthly new-vehicle payment rose 20 percent in December to a record $688, Cox said.
Various authorities expect sales of between 80,000 and 95,000 Mavericks this year, rising to 120,000 in 2023. For example, J.D. Power expects Ford to sell at least 80,000 Mavericks in the U.S. this year. AutoPacific believes Maverick sales will be about 95,000 this year, rising to 120,000 in 2023.
Ford Intros Well-Received Models
Ford has introduced several well-received new models in the past two years – the Mustang Mach-E, the Maverick, the Transit Connect, and F-150 Lightning. They have given the automaker a real boost.
Marc Stern has been an automotive writer since 1971 when an otherwise normal news editor said, "You're our new car editor," and dumped about 27 pounds of auto stuff on my desk. I was in heaven as I have been a gearhead from my early days. As a teen, I spent the usual number of misspent hours hanging out at gas stations Shell and Texaco (a big thing in my youth) and working on cars. From there on, it was a straight line to my first column for the paper, "You Auto Know," an enterprise that I handled faithfully for 32 years. Not many people know that I also handled computer documentation for a good part of my living while writing YAN. My best writing, though, was always in cars. My work has appeared in Popular Mechanics, Mechanix Illustrated, AutoWeek, SuperStock, Trailer Life, Old Cars Weekly, Special Interest Autos, etc. You can follow me on: Twitter or Facebook.