A Look Underneath the Base Ford Maverick Shows How Ford Can Sell It for Just $22.5K
Ford’s smart use of modular parts helps it keep the tiny truck affordable.
The Ford Maverick has made waves in the truck space, that much is undeniable. Automakers seemingly abandoned the compact truck segment long ago, and Ford's decision to bring back its offering with the Maverick has proven to be a hit, especially with a starting price of $22,490.
That's cheap—extremely cheap. In fact, it's the least expensive vehicle in Ford's lineup. So how exactly did Ford get the Maverick to such a low price point when every other truck on the market is selling for comparatively big money? Jordan Arocha, the program manager at Munro & Associates, got his hands on a Maverick hybrid to answer that and find which cost-cutting measures Ford employed and where.
Arocha explains that Ford's "incredibly inexpensive" truck achieved its low cost primarily by making smart engineering choices while still equipping it with less costly underpinnings. Despite the truck appearing to be significantly modernized inside, it's actually built around older mechanical technology that helped to keep the cost down.
For starters, stamped steel is used in many places. While this isn't uncommon, it is quite cost-effective when building new vehicles. These stamped parts also extend to the subframe and rear suspension components. Meanwhile, the front suspension is built upon MacPherson struts with no upper control arm, while the rear is a simple twist-beam setup. That means less complexity, fewer bushings, and no rear anti-roll bar, which also helps with weight savings that result in the Maverick's fantastic fuel economy.
Modularity was another big point in cost savings. The Maverick's engine, for example, is using off-the-shelf components compatible with a broad range of other vehicles. Specifically, Arocha points out the notch in the pan that is provisional for other vehicle applications. Ford's part site shows that the Maverick's oil pan is the same for both the EcoBoost and Hybrid models, and is even shared with other vehicles going back to 2012 like the Escape, Edge, Explorer, Focus, Focus RS, Fusion, and Taurus, as well as several Lincoln models.
Arocha doesn't believe the lower control arm is purpose-built for the Maverick, though Ford's part site says that the specific part number only applies to the Maverick, at least in North America.
There are a few cost-cutting measures that Arocha notes which cause a bit of unsightliness under the truck. Several components, including the axle half-shafts, are completely uncoated and are already showing surface rust. Other components, like the tie rods and stamped steel assemblies, appear to be simply painted with no electrodeposition coating to protect the underlying metal. Arocha also alleges that the exhaust system is made from low-quality steel. The muffler on this example is already heavily corroded and he debates if it will make it through the entirety of the new vehicle warranty before failing.
Ford also used some interesting mechanical solutions to solve battery conditioning problems. A heavy-duty belt-driven water pump is used rather than a modern electric unit. This is likely to help with a combination of costs, longevity, and the need to pump a high volume of coolant to the battery pack mounted near the middle of the truck. At the pack, Ford intelligently uses waste heat from the exhaust to heat the coolant and condition the battery. Heat is recovered using a mechanical exchanger mounted directly to the exhaust, enabling the Maverick to reclaim wasted heat rather than use a costly Positive Temperature Coefficient (PTC) heater.
Cost-cutting measures aside, it's hard to deny that the Maverick is a stronge value for its MSRP. In fact, the truck is priced so well that Arocha suspects Ford may not be making a profit on the base XL model at all. Ford's ability to offer the Maverick at a price point like this is a respectable feat and is something undoubtedly welcomed by consumers, especially when the average vehicle transaction price is more than double that of the base-trim Maverick.
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