It really isn’t all Ford and the fanboys said it was.
A year ago I declared the Ford Maverick was the most disappointing car reveal of 2021, triggering a soy boy meltdown of epic proportions. Actually, the ensuing tantrum wasn’t all that bad, but I did get a chuckle out of two Maverick owners clubs threw hissy fits in their forums and sicced members on me in an attempt to have me cancelled. After all, I dared to point out the obvious facts about their cute little truck, blowing apart a carefully crafted story that the Maverick was taking the industry by storm.
See why young enthusiasts are being driven away from the hobby here.
Ford chose to use a storied, albeit admittedly tarnished, nameplate for its new compact, unibody pickup truck, a move which intrigued me at first. What I thought was absolutely clownish about the marketing launch was the adamant focus on young Millennial and Gen Z buyers who live in urban areas, hence the Gabrielle Union endorsement campaign.
The Maverick was positioned as a truck for people who hate trucks, like all these plant-based “meats” designed for people who think burgers and steaks are murder. If you hate something, why would you try emulating it? The whole thing doesn’t make much, if any, sense.
Back to what people called a “review” of the Maverick (it wasn’t a review but instead was me pointing out some cold, hard facts about the truck). I went on to state the obvious: the compact, unibody truck market is very much a niche and would stay that way. Honda hadn’t seen much success with the larger Ridgeline, which has been around since 2006. But Ford thinks boasting the worst payload rating out of the three unibody trucks on the market (compared to the Hyundai Santa Cruz and Honda Ridgeline) at a pathetic 1,564 lbs. and a measly 2,000 lbs. tow rating (it increases to a whopping 4,000 lbs. when you add the Towing Package) was just going to make people swoon.
Oh, but here’s the kicker: according to the fanboys and Ford itself people buy trucks primarily for fuel economy. That logical fallacy does explain why Ford has used the laughable and problematic EcoBoost in the F-150. While there might be some morons who focus on fuel efficiency solely when shopping for a truck, those who are smart get a pickup to do truck things, namely towing and hauling. Otherwise, you might as well buy the Prius since it can’t tow or haul much of anything but it does sip the gas.
Admittedly, not everyone is using their truck to tow a backhoe from one job site to another or haul around a bed full of paving stones. But a surprising number of truck owners do use the utilitarian capabilities of their ride regularly enough. This fact is surprising for those who live in office worker bubbles and cite anecdotal tales of some guy they know who has a jacked-up F-150 and only drives it to and from their computer programmer job, never placing more than a watermelon in the payload. Those people are outliers.
The Maverick wasn’t going to steal away anyone who uses trucks to do truck things, but what about the office workers who might have a crossover or sedan and want something more “rugged”? Sure, some probably did plop down for a Maverick, but having owned a truck and many other types of vehicles, I can tell you not having a locking, covered cargo area can be a bit of a pain. If you don’t need a truck to do truck thigs, why would you deal with such an inconvenience? To transport tall items which might max out the payload capacity of your Maverick anyway while it accelerates at the same pace as a tortoise? Such a vehicle just doesn’t make much sense if you think about it honestly.
I was told my opinion was “garbage” and plenty of other words I can’t publish (Maverick aficionados have quite the guttural vocabulary, it seems). To validate their counter claim, these critics cited all Ford’s propaganda which has been dutifully repeated by my peers in the access automotive media so they’re still invited to Ford pressers at luxury resorts where journalists are wined and dined to ensure they continue acting as an extension of Ford’s public relations department.
My bringing up an opposing view just wasn’t acceptable to those who don’t feel secure in their devotion to the Maverick. After all, if these individuals truly felt it’s a wonderful vehicle which perfectly suits their needs, why would they care what I think about it? Oh, but they most definitely did and that alone was wonderfully revealing. Perhaps these individuals are used to the media affirming their every thought? One has to wonder at that.
By the way, ask me how I know these Maverick fanboys complained directly to Ford executives – it’s a funny story.
Anyway, the big question is how has the Ford Maverick done sales-wise this year? After all, I was told repeatedly, especially by Ford, that it was a runaway smash hit. As of the writing of this article we have data through the end of November, with total sales for 2022 at 68,492 units. That’s appalling low considering this thing was taking over the industry and would knock off the F-Series as Ford’s top model line for absolutely sure since full-size trucks are dumb and such. In the meantime, F-Series sales totaled 578,881 units or almost 8.5 times as many as the Maverick. Shocking.
I never doubted the Maverick was a niche product, especially compared to the F-Series workhorses. After all, our economy literally depends on full-size trucks, not some little unibody aimed at chic urbanites. But people who live in bubbles still don’t know who built the office they sit inside all day or make sure they have running water, electricity, and functioning roads, among many other niceties.
The excuse for the sales total not being higher which has been thrown out by the Maverick apologists is supply shortages cut into Maverick production. I don’t doubt they did, but that’s the case for many Ford products considering the company was hard hit by a lack of chips and other components. However, the question I have is why wasn’t the F-Series sales total closer to the Maverick’s if the little truck supposedly is so much more popular? The answer is, again, the Maverick is a niche model and nothing more.
You can like the Maverick for all I care. Go tell everyone how great it is, seriously. But don’t tell me it’s a humongous success just because Ford said it had to stop taking preorders because it was just so popular. After all that’s a common tactic to manufacture demand, one that’s used in more than just the automotive industry. Ultimately, preorders don’t count for jack – sales do. And the sales figures don’t lie: the Maverick is a niche truck.
By the way, the latest Toyota sales figures we have are through September and they show the Tacoma had sold 175,872 units, despite the supply shortages. I was also told the Maverick would humiliate the Tacoma, a truck which has dominated mid-size sales for a long time, yet it hasn’t come close. Cry harder Maverick fanboys into your soy latte, then enjoy your cute little truck’s fuel economy while hauling the groceries home.
Images via Ford