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Ford Ranger's baby brother pickup could launch next year

Ford teased a new model for 2021 in a recent financial presentation.

Is America ready for a truly small pickup truck?

All signs point to Ford prepping a new small pickup truck, and during a financial call Friday with Bank of America Securities, the Blue Oval may have teased its launch date.

Ford/Screenshot by Nick Hide/Roadshow

As spotted by Muscle Cars & Trucks, a slideshow presentation from the event (PDF) confirmed a "whitespace" vehicle set to launch in 2021. "Whitespace" suggests this upcoming Ford will literally sit in a segment uncontested thus far, and rumors point to a tiny pickup truck.

This baby brother to the Ford Ranger of sorts could sport the Maverick name -- a nameplate Ford has trademarked in the US. In fact, we heard earlier this year that Ford has already shown dealerships the upcoming pickup truck and it received an enthusiastic reaction.

Ford declined to comment.

If current information rings true, the Maverick will share a platform with the recently revealed Ford Bronco Sport. That's the automaker's C2 platform, which underpins everything from the current Focus sold in Europe, the latest Escape and the Bronco Sport. A modified version also underpins the Mustang Mach-E. With the unibody architecture, it won't be nearly as rugged as a Ranger or F-150, but if the Bronco Sport is any indication, Ford will still outfit it will plenty of "Built Ford Tough" attitude.

More info to suggest we're in for a small pickup? Dealers also said Ford plans to come out of the gate strong and build the truck alongside the Bronco Sport at its plant in Hermosillo, Mexico with an annual production rate of 100,000. If you're wondering why the large number, it's rumored Ford will consider the Maverick a new entry-level vehicle that will exist alongside an Ecosport replacement. With the Fiesta and Focus dead in the US, Ford still knows it needs to capture budget-minded buyers. We could see the Maverick start at a price under $20,000 to accomplish such a goal.

With Americans largely shunning small cars and hatchbacks, Ford's bet on an affordable pickup could be a smart plan.

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