Ford Motor has quietly started production of a new pickup in Mexico that’s expected to be smaller than its current Ranger model, according to data released by the automaker.
The new truck was disclosed to investors Wednesday in the automaker’s monthly production data as a “C-Pick Up” that’s being produced at its Hermosillo plant. Only 21 vehicles were assembled in February, likely indicating early prototype models for testing. A spokesman for Ford declined to comment beyond what the company disclosed in its monthly production report.
“C-Pick Up” is expected to stand for compact pickup, which would expand the company’s highly profitable truck business below its current midsize Ranger pickup. Auto analysts expect the truck will be sold in the U.S. and in other markets such as South America where smaller pickups have traditionally been more popular.
When Ford CEO Jim Farley was leading the automaker’s global markets, he said Ford was “investing in more affordable versions” of the company’s truck business. He said to “expect new nameplates below where we compete today.”
“When you think about Ford, we have a dominant truck franchise globally, that’s vans, pickups, and now we’re going to dramatically enhance our utility lineup around the globe,” he said during a Deutsche Bank investor conference in January 2019. “And that’s what’s going to drive together our global profitability over the next few years.”
2021 Ford Bronco Sport
The pickup is being produced at the plant alongside the company’s new Ford Bronco Sport SUV, which could mean the pickup will share the vehicle’s platform and underpinnings. Auto enthusiast and trade publications have reported a compact pickup — potentially named Maverick — is expected from Ford by the end of this year.
Production beginning at the plant is a likely sign the vehicle is forthcoming. It took about nine months for the Bronco Sport to increase manufacturing from 29 units to more than 8,000 in November, according to Ford. Factories slowly ramp up production ahead of the vehicles shipping to dealers.
Jessica Caldwell, Edmunds’ executive director of insights, said the auto industry needs more affordable pickups, as some larger models such as the F-Series can top $100,000. But she doesn’t expect the vehicle would sell large volumes in the U.S.
“It’s extremely hard to find a well-priced truck that is somewhat new,” she said. “I think for Ford it definitely makes sense, especially since they’ve got rid of a lot of their passenger cars. So, they definitely need something that’s going to be at a lower price point for consumers.”