Ford Motor Co.'s new tiny truck, the Maverick, is generating lots of early interest, with reservations for the hybrid pickup topping 100,000 and demand coming from California markets that typically favor imports.
The reservations are nonbinding and don't require a deposit, but Ford is confident they'll convert into orders as they did with a similar system set up to build interest for the electric Mustang Mach-E and revived Bronco SUV.
"This really has exceeded our expectations," Todd Eckert, Ford's truck marketing manager, said in an interview. "This is the initial step with reservations. But we think it bodes extremely well."
Ford is making a bid for entry-level import buyers with the Maverick, which starts at under $20,000 and gets 40 miles per gallon with the standard gasoline-electric hybrid version. The compact pickup is only six inches longer than a Toyota Camry sedan. It represents a new effort to reach price-conscious consumers after the automaker dropped the Ford Focus and exited slow-selling sedans in the U.S.
So far, Ford says the most reservations are coming from Los Angeles, where the Toyota Tacoma midsize pickup dominates the market. San Francisco ranks third on the Maverick reservation list, behind Orlando, Fla., and just ahead of Houston.
The vehicle, which is being built in Mexico, officially goes on sale this fall.
Michael Meadors, 30, of Costa Mesa, California, has already converted his reservation into an order for a black Maverick with a sticker price of $22,030, after he added some safety-oriented technology upgrades. With a nearly 50-mile round-trip commute to his human-resources job in L.A., Meadors said he was attracted by the truck's fuel economy and modest size.
"It's not that much bigger than the Ford Fusion I'm driving," Meadors said. "So it should be pretty easy to buzz around in heavy traffic in Southern California and find parking."
This is Meadors's first truck and first new vehicle. Like the growing wave of pickup buyers, he doesn't need a truck for work, but sees benefits in having a bed to haul things.
"You don't have to work in construction in order to reap the benefits," he said. "You could be picking up plants and potting soil, or some large items from Costco or even sandy beach chairs that you don't want to put inside the cabin."