Automakers seem to be looking to get some idea how popular their new introductions are these days by offering potential buyers a chance to reserve an option to buy one after they roll out the newest vehicle.
Tesla’s taken reservations for several years for as little as $100. Ford’s also done well with its new small pickup, the Maverick, cruising past the 100,000-reservation mark. Most reservations require some form of deposit — i.e. the Ford F-150 Lightning with a $100 payment — but the Maverick’s reservations are not a formal commitment to buy — and they’re free.
The Lightning reportedly exceeded 120,000 reservations before the end of July, and it was confirmed by Ford officials during the company’s earnings call. It made its debut in mid-May.
Just as it did with the F-150 Lightning, the automaker will use the reservations as a way to build a rapport with potential customers. For example, Lightning customers have received several emails offering new insights into the battery-electric pickup, including special events for reservation holders to come and check out the new pickup.
Little truck gets a big response
“(The demand) really has exceeded our expectations,” Todd Eckert, Ford’s truck marketing manager, told AutoBlog.com. “This is the initial step with reservations. But we think it bodes extremely well.”
The small pickup — much like its competitor, the Hyundai Santa Cruz — is aimed at non-traditional truck buyers. The company is looking for young urbanites who need a lot of functionality in a smaller package. Thus far, the company’s reservations are coming from a mix of non-traditional truck markets, starting with Los Angeles as the top location, although another California city, San Francisco is third.
Orlando, Florida is the No. 2 spot with Houston, which certainly sees its share of full-size pickups, coming in No. 4. It’s unclear how many of the reservations are for the hybrid model or the larger, gas-powered engine variant, according to AutoBlog.
It’s unlikely it will just come as a gas-powered or hybrid model either. CEO Jim Farley revealed he can foresee a family of vehicles based on the new model, including a battery-electric version of the truck.
Farley told the New York Times he believed the new truck would be a success. He added could see the automaker expanding the on the package to develop a group of Maverick-based vehicles with one of being all-electric. The Maverick is already offered as a hybrid. He also suggested in May that a Bronco EV could be in the works as well.
Big commitment to compact trucks
The new truck starts at $19,995 — though buyers will be able to drive that up substantially by opting for features like a more powerful EcoBoost engine, a power moonroof, the FX4 off-road package and premium Lariat trim.
Its platform is shared not only with the familiar Ford Escape but also the new Ford Bronco Sport, although it’s not nearly the off-road the SUV is.
At 199.7 inches in length and 68.7 inches in height, it’s nearly a foot shorter, and about two inches lower than today’s Ranger. And it’s 32 inches shorter, seven inches narrower, than an F-150. The bed, meanwhile, comes in at 4.5 feet, or half a foot shorter than Ranger which is, itself, six inches shorter than the standard F-150 bed.
The base engine pairs a 2.5-liter Atkinson Cycle gas engine with a 94 kilowatt electric motor. Together, they produce 191 horsepower. Fittingly, urban drivers will get an EPA-estimated 40 mpg in the city, with a combined rating of 40 mpg. The engine is paired with a CVT gearbox and is available only in front-wheel-drive.
Maverick offers an upgrade to a 2.0-liter EcoBoost engine, mated to an 8-speed automatic. This package punches the pony count up to 250, with torque rated at 277 pound-feet. The turbo-4 can be ordered in either front- or all-wheel drive.
Even the hybrid manages to carry up to 1,500 pounds of cargo and tow up to 2,000 pounds. The EcoBoost package bumps that tow rating to 4,000. To put that into perspective, the Ranger can handle anywhere from 3,500 to 7,500 pounds, depending upon options.