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Despite Suit, Compact Ford Truck Still Remains Popular

One of Ford's most popular vehicles, the compact Maverick pickup, faces a class-action suit over a side curtain airbag. The suit has done nothing to dial back the compact pickup's incredible popularity.
Posted: January 20, 2023 - 10:38AM
Author: Marc Stern

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Having watched cars and trucks for a very long time, I have come to understand something that sometimes – well, maybe always – escapes others. New trucks and cars have problems that have to be fixed by the recall. However, today there’s even more; the shouters out there want to file suits at the drop of a tire wrench.

Here’s An Example

Some years ago – okay, 20-plus – we obtained a first-generation Ford Focus. The vehicle was to be my wife’s daily driver to work and for shopping and such. At that time, I noted the number of recalls that the Focus had outstanding. The number was about 12, and we returned the Focus to the dealership for its maintenance.

That was it – end of the story. Today, though, it seems that if a new vehicle appears or a new generation appears somewhere in the early part of the vehicle’s life cycle, someone will file a suit. That’s what has happened to the Ford Maverick, perhaps the automaker’s hottest vehicle right now.

Indeed, Ford continues to need help to keep up with the demand for the compact pickup. As they say, the vehicle ticks all the right boxes on the demand list of thousands of drivers. The last time I checked the Ford order banks for the Maverick, there were more than 100,000 reservations for the pickups. People have been told that they will not catch up with the demand until later this year. It stands to reason as the Maverick is the right size for buyers. (I would be in the market for one if I could, but our daily driver is an older Fusion with few miles on the odometer, so I can’t see trading it in and losing a bunch on the deal, but that’s me).

The Maverick Was Once A Sedan

Still, there’s no getting around it; the Ford lineup, a history shows there’s more to a vehicle’s name and lineage than you may think. The Maverick name goes back over half-a-century to the days when it was tagged on a compact sedan. It was a great seller in the 1960s at the height of its popularity. By the end of the 1970s, though, the Maverick name had disappeared. It was revived and put on one of today’s hottest vehicles a couple of years ago. (Consumer Reports, in fact, has put it at the top of its truck lists, bouncing the Honda Ridgeline – quite an achievement).

Says the MotorBiscuit.com, “Buying one feels almost impossible because the Blue Oval is struggling to keep up with the demand for its small truck.” And, here it goes someone has launched a suit over the compact pickup. A lawsuit has been filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan

The MotorBiscuit notes that the 2022 Maverick “might be a good small truck…but that does not mean it is immune to recalls.” This is an assessment with which Torque News agreed. A recent MotorBiscuit article on this Ford Maverick recall discusses it. The issue regards the compact pickup’s side curtain airbags.

Ford Says It Has A Solution

Ford says it has a solution to the problem. But the class-action suit said the repairs “do not actually correct the issue,” said the MotorBiscuit (MB). “The lawsuit covers the 65,000 Ford Mavericks impacted by the recall along with other Ford vehicles that use the same type of airbags.” It will be interesting to “see how this plays out.”

It is also interesting that this early in the Maverick’s life cycle a suit has been filed over a recall for which the automaker says it has a fix. Says MB, the issue was discovered during a National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) audit that found the “side curtain airbags were discovered to be defective.” The issue was in the airbags displacement. The audit found they were more than the federal limits of 100 mm. “They are also higher than the Blue Oval’s initial test results, hence why there is a recall for the 2022 Maverick.”

Interestingly, the “plaintiff in the lawsuit is not claiming that his airbag failed.” Ford has also said it isn’t aware of any issues “caused by the faulty airbags.” The automaker “initially issued the airbag recall back in August of 2022.” And, there still doesn’t seem to be a workable fix, contrary to what Ford says.

In an effort to keep its customers happy, Ford has sent owners “impacted by the airbag issue” away with Yeti tumblers “to help ease the pain of the faulty airbag,” says the the Ford Authority in discussing this issue.

Maverick’s Popularity Remains High the Ford compact truck. As MB notes, people “who want a small truck that looks like a traditional pickup are fairly limited in their options. Sue, there is the Hyundai Santa Cruz. But that vehicle looks more like a crossover than a truck. And the Santa Cruz lacks the off-road chops of the Maverick.”

Despite facing a recall, the popularity of Ford’s small truck has not seemed to waiver. Folks who want a small truck that looks like a traditional pickup are fairly limited in their options. Sure, there is the Hyundai Santa Cruz. But that vehicle looks more like a crossover than a truck. And the Santa Cruz lacks the off-road chops of the Maverick.

Ford Motor Photo

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 (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 I handled faithfully for 32 years. Not many people know that I also handled computer documentation for a good part of my earnings 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.

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