Car-like Ford Maverick slated for Australia

The Ford Maverick pickup truck sold in the United States is based on the foundations of the Focus hatchback and the Escape SUV, with the practicality of the double cab, the fuel economy of small cars and the comfort of passenger cars. tourism. Now a senior executive has confirmed he is being considered for Australia.

The Ford Maverick 2022 – a slightly smaller but far more economical double-cab pickup than the Ford Ranger – has been considered and, for now, ruled out for Australia, even though ute sales are at record highs locally.

Dianne Craig, Ford’s boss of international markets – including Australia – told media at the Detroit auto show overnight that the Maverick was under consideration for the local market.

However, for now, it’s only made in left-hand drive – and is a sell-out success with long lead times and large order banks.

Ford Australia largely depends on the success of just two models: the Ford Ranger ute and the four-wheel-drive Everest account for between 70 and 80 percent of the company’s local sales.

Given Ford Australia’s limited success with passenger cars and most SUVs, the Ford Maverick could be the third vehicle in the local lineup to help support the business.

The Ford Maverick has found widespread appeal in the United States for car buyers who want the practicality of a ute but don’t need heavy equipment or towing capacity – and prefer fuel economy and dynamics. driving characteristics similar to those of a car.

The Ford Maverick is powered by a 2.5-liter engine with a hybrid system and front-wheel drive in entry-level models – or a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine mated to front or all-wheel drive and a eight-speed automatic transmission. transmission in more expensive model categories.

It can carry around 650kg in the ute bed (compared to a 1000kg payload for many heavy utes) and tow up to 1800kg (compared to up to 3500kg on vehicles such as the Ford Ranger and Toyota HiLux ).

Despite being based on the stretched underpinnings of the Ford Focus hatchback and Ford Escape SUV, the Ford Maverick is only 30cm shorter than a Ford Ranger and has a large cargo hold.

When asked if there were any plans to consider a right-hand-drive version of the Ford Maverick, Ford’s head of international markets, Dianne Craig, said: “We’ve looked at it. And so that’s beyond what I can tell you at this point.

When asked for more information, the Ford executive said the factory-backed right-hand drive conversion program planned for the full-size F-150 “could really open up some possibilities for us.”

“I think we have to crack the code for this one first, and we’re very happy with the partner we’ve chosen (with the Ford F-150 conversion). So stay tuned.”

However, since the Ford Maverick is a car-based vehicle, it would be more expensive to retrofit it to right-hand drive, which would likely make the vehicle more expensive than a Ford Ranger.

At full price, a top left-hand drive Ford Maverick in the US costs the equivalent of $50,000 in Australian currency.

However, an Australian conversion program would push the price past $70,000, making it unprofitable to complete and inaccessible to purchase.

It’s possible that Ford is considering a factory-built right-hand-drive version midway through the Maverick model’s cycle – a task made possible given that it’s based on the ambidextrous Focus and Escape model.

However, for now, Ford is keeping a low profile and would not answer any further questions about the Maverick.

Joshua Dowling has been a motoring journalist for over 20 years, spending most of his time working for the Sydney Morning Herald (as motoring editor and an early member of the Drive team) and News Corp Australia. He joined CarAdvice/Drive in 2018 and was a World Car of the Year judge for over 10 years.

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