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Tuesday, January 31, 2023

Ford explains it didn’t name the Maverick after the 1970s compact car

Ford’s smallest pickup wears a familiar name that didn’t always denote a truck: Maverick. The original Maverick was launched for 1970, but in an interview with Ford enthusiast site, Ford Authority, the Blue Oval explained it didn’t bring back the nameplate as a tribute to the little sedan.

“We knew very well that [the Maverick’s] customer was a younger customer, they’re very much after a more active lifestyle, and affordability is also strong with those customers. So, the Maverick name resonated very strongly with those customers. We put different options in front of them, and it was Maverick almost unilaterally. They identified their lifestyle, the way they live their lives, with the name and define those expectations,” Trevor Scott told Ford Authority.

Seeing the Maverick nameplate in American showrooms after a decades-long hiatus has nothing to do with heritage; it’s purely a marketing move. Scott was not able to reveal the other names that Ford was considering.

However, he added that his team never worried about the connection with the original model (shown above, in red). He explained the new Maverick is aimed at 25- to 35-year-olds. With the exception of dyed-in-the-wool enthusiasts, no one in that age group remembers that Ford launched a Maverick when Richard Nixon was in office (Ed. note: most of the target market probably thinks of Top Gun than ’70s automobiles). It helps tremendously that the Maverick vanished from our roads without leaving a trace; Chevrolet hasn’t built a Corvair in over five decades, but we can’t imagine the nameplate making a comeback in 2021 — or in 2031, for that matter.

While some older motorists in the United States might still associate the Maverick name with a 50-year old compact car, drivers overseas already link it to the outdoors. European and Australian buyers were served two distinctly different generations of the Maverick in the 1990s and the 2000s. Across the pond, the Maverick emblem first denoted a badge-engineered version of the Nissan Terrano II, and it was later used on a market-specific version of the first Escape. Down Under, it was assigned to Ford’s version of the Y60-generation Nissan Patrol.

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