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Hau Thai-Tang Explains Maverick’s Mission

2022 Ford Maverick Small Pickup Truck
Image copyright Steven Pham, Muscle Cars & Trucks

Ford Motor Company currently is without a sedan or hatchback for sale here in the United States. Ten years ago, that would have been seen as a suicidal move for any marque. But with the segment eroding, and the remaining share only being left to its biggest players – Japanese and Korean models like the Hyundai Sonata and Toyota Camry these days – the American automaker had to rethink its entry products. And that entry product is now the Ford Maverick. For the 2022 model year Ford lineup, the new Maverick pickup truck is actually the most affordable model of the entire portfolio, with the EcoSport utility vehicle being cut from the American lineup.

But is it fair to say that the Ford Maverick is “replacing” entry level passenger cars and utility vehicles, as some have eluded to? Turns out that’s a misconception, according to Hau Thai-Tang, chief product platform and operations officer at Ford Motor Company.

2022 Ford Maverick Interior EcoBoost Hybrid Design Interior
Image copyright Steven Pham, Muscle Cars & Trucks.

2022 Ford Maverick: Rethinking The Entry Vehicle

“No! It’s not (replacing the Ford Fusion),” said Hau Thai-Tang in an interview with MC&T. “We looked at it as passenger vehicles are getting very commoditized, it’s difficult for us to make money, how else can we use that capital and engineering capacity? We decided let’s play to our strengths.”

Considering that America loves pickup trucks, and that Ford outsells any other brand for 40-plus years, there’s an opportunity to expand on that competency (though if we’re going by automaker, it’s General Motors that takes the truck sales crown).

What are we good at? Trucks. What do we need? An affordable, entry vehicle to bring first time buyers into the showroom,” he said.

The 2022 Ford Maverick managed to rack up some 100,000 reservations ahead of its launch, which is happening now. Most reservations are coming from Los Angeles, followed by Orlando, Florida, and then San Fransisco. Houston, Texas rounds out the top four spots. Coastal markets tend to favor import brands, so this could be considered to be a major inroads in swinging momentum towards the home team.

2022 Ford Maverick Woodward Dream Cruise Pickup Truck Accessories
Image copyright Steven Pham, Muscle Cars & Trucks.

Possible Opportunities For An Even Smaller Truck

The Ford Maverick is indeed the smallest new pickup truck for sale in America, but that doesn’t mean the truck is necessarily small. In fact, its overall length rivals that of a full-size sedan, such as the popular Dodge Charger muscle car. So we asked Hau Thai-Tang if there’s opportunity to go even smaller.

“Maybe,” he said. “There’s certainly in other markets like South America and South Africa. But (the Maverick) is a great story. We leveraged the Bronco Sport (platform), we did all of our Built Ford Tough validation on it, and the decision to go full hybrid eliminates the decision for first time buyers on fuel efficiency and operational costs.”

The 2022 Ford Maverick starts at $19,995, plus a $1,495 destination charge.

2022 Ford Maverick
Image copyright Steven Pham, Muscle Cars & Trucks.

Written by Manoli Katakis

Muscle Cars & Trucks was founded by Manoli Katakis - an automotive media veteran that has been covering the latest car news since 2009. His journalism has uncovered dozens of major product changes, updates, plans, and cancellations long before automakers were ready to make things official.

Some highlights over the years of his reporting include the uncovering of the Zora trademark before anybody else reported on the coming of a mid-engine Corvette, as well as the dead-accurate reporting of the coming of the Chevrolet Colorado ZR2, two years before it hit the market, and even before the debut of the concept vehicle. This type of reporting has immediately continued here, with reports of the original seventh-generation Camaro plans being shelved, as well as what's in store for the Chevrolet Silverado.

Some of his work can be found on massive automotive media outlets, such as Motor1. He also has been a guest on the 910AM Radio Station with Detroit News auto critic Henry Payne, as well as the enthusiast-oriented Camaro Show podcast.

Over the years, Manoli has interviewed various automotive industry titans, leaders, and people that make things happen otherwise. These include figureheads such as GM CEO Mary Barra, GM President Mark Reuss, automotive aftermarket icon Ken Lingenfelter, Dodge firebrand Tim Kuniskis, along with various chief engineers of vehicles such as the Ford F-150 & Mustang, Chevrolet Camaro & Corvette, and many more.

At MC&T, Manoli is taking his journalism expertise, deeply planted sources, driving abilities, and automotive industry knowledge to new levels, covering more vehicles and brands than ever before. This is the place where you will continue to read groundbreaking stories about American performance vehicles, pickup trucks, and sport utility vehicles. Here is where you’ll also read insights and quotes from various automotive subject matter experts on the latest relevant products, as well as some of the latest official news from their manufacturers.

Fun facts: he also once beat Corvette Racing driver Tommy Milner in an autocross with a Chevrolet Bolt EV. The biggest vehicle he’s ever driven is a John Deere mining truck. Besides a go-kart, the smallest vehicle he’s driven has been a Hyundai i10. He’s also spent time in the cockpit of various American performance vehicle icons, including the fifth-generation Chevrolet Camaro Z/28, Dodge Challenger Demon, and Ford Mustang GT350R. He has reviewed dozens of trucks, SUVs, and performance vehicles over the years.

One of his favorite new vehicles on the market today happens to be the Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 Bison. He is also a card carrying member of the Sports Car Club of America, and regularly participates in Detroit Region autocross events.

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