Ford Maverick Lariat Interior Inspired by Fancy Shoes and a Chinese Food Run
Inspiration can strike anywhere and anytime — including the moments before digging into some tantalizing takeout. Just ask Rob Brancheau, colors and material designer for the all-new 2022 Ford Maverick, who happened upon his muse for the compact truck’s fanciest interior while waiting to grab Chinese.
While the Maverick was in development, Brancheau had a few moments to kill before receiving a succulent meal and found himself browsing a clothing store. There, a pair of Levi’s shoes caught his eye. Their deep navy hue, complemented by brown leather and contrast stitching, set off a lightbulb.
Brancheau and his team were looking to crack the Maverick Lariat — the most opulent version of Ford’s new budget-friendly pickup. The design was in place, but they still needed to flesh it out with a fresh palette. In his hands — and, eventually, on his feet — Rob had his answer.
“The shoes were not that typical cookie-cutter appearance. They were the exact type of look we were going for. There was a certain element of sophistication to them,” Brancheau says. “When you find things that fit the color space you’re looking for, immediately, you’re drawn to it.”
Brancheau brought the kicks (and, one must assume, his lunch) back to work, and the design team got to work. The result: premium Desert Brown and Navy Pier ActiveX seats that complete the Maverick Lariat’s elegant and elevated interior environment.
Ford Maverick trims offer three unique personalities
When it launches this fall, the 2022 Ford Maverick will be available in three trims: XL, XLT, and Lariat. Rob Brancheau sees each as having their own distinct personality, which informs his approach to the colors and materials for the trio.
“Each of Maverick’s three trim levels offers a unique interior color scheme,” he says. “XL is finished in Black Onyx with Navy Pier, while XLT is outfitted in Navy Pier with Medium Slate, Scout Orange highlight stitching, and touchpoint highlights.”
At the top of the lineup, the Ford Maverick Lariat offers the fullest complement of premium interior features. But thanks to the color scheme — inspired by those fateful shoes — Brancheau says the Lariat “feels sophisticated but still has that youthful and energetic feel that comes along with Maverick.”
The energy in part comes from the natural contrast between brown and blue. Brancheau notes that the colors can easily clash, but that the shoes’ proportioning of the colors created a necessary degree of balance. Desert Brown creates the feeling of luxury necessary for a Lariat, while the Navy Pier imbues the surfaces with a kind of verve.
Ford’s compact pickup moving the needle
With its affordable starting price, standard hybrid engine, super-functional FlexBed, and spacious cabin, Ford is certainly targeting a youthful and energetic driver with the Maverick. The Maverick is Ford’s answer for former sedan customers looking for a new entry-level standard, and it’s shaping up to be the right response.
“There’s never been a better time to introduce an entry-level product that meets the needs of a large group of consumers,” says Brancheau. “Maverick provides Ford’s previous sedan customers and entry-level buyers a new, no-compromise option that checks all the boxes for seating and gives them more versatility at an incredible value while allowing us to also bring new customers to Ford.”
So far, so good. Reservations for the Maverick have surpassed 100,000, and it’s playing well with customers who drive or drove sedans like the Focus and Fusion. It’s also cleaning up nicely in major markets like Los Angeles, Houston, and Orlando, where it looks to steal business away from sedans like the Honda Civic and midsize trucks like the Toyota Tacoma.
To ensure the Maverick’s effectiveness, Brancheau and the design team honed in on new customers and their desires. From careers and hobbies to wants and needs, the extensive research phase heading into development allowed Ford to craft a compact pickup that serves up the things drivers are looking for.
Brancheau notes examples of this in the split armrests in the doors better suited for reusable water bottles, the ample under-seat storage in the rear of the cabin, and the innovative Ford Integrated Tether System that allows for greater customization. Worth noting: Ford will offer a FITS accessory package for Maverick trucks that includes grocery bag hooks and a trash bin. Those sure would be handy if you like to eat Chinese takeout on the go.
More Innovations from Ford: The 2022 Ford F-150 Lightning looks to change the game for good when it arrives next spring
All-new 2022 Ford Maverick ‘a go-getter’
Brancheau might be a prime example of someone in the target demo for the Ford Maverick. Last October, he told his alma mater — the University of Michigan’s Penny W. Stamps School of Art & Design — that driving his first Ford truck was a source of pride. He used his 1997 Ford F-150 as a professional carpenter for six years so that he could save for design school, and he sees the Maverick as being similarly useful for today’s up-and-comers.
“I definitely hope that the Ford Maverick inspires young professionals to meet their goals. The essence of Maverick is to be a vessel of creativity, enthusiasm, excitement, and versatility,” Brancheau says. “For me, I see the Maverick owner as a go-getter. Someone that will try something new, build upon past experiences, and enjoy making new ones.”
And with six-figure reservations and a whole lot of buzz, it’s fair to say the Maverick’s go-getter status is secure ahead of its fall debut.
As for going and getting, there was one burning question I had for Rob Brancheau relative to his moment of divine inspiration. What did he have for lunch that fateful day?
“My go-to orders at this restaurant are orange chicken or sweet and sour chicken — so it was definitely one of either of those!”