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Posted: November 24th, 2022


Maverick Auto Company was established in 1968 in Dearborn, Michigan, by three former GM employees. Their mission was to be a small, nimble auto brand that could respond to the needs and wants of their customers. They are a niche brand in the auto market but have a loyal customer following. Their specialty is all-wheel-drive sedans and crossover SUVs. Below is a matrix of the basic information related to their current product portfolio:
Model Maverick Sprinter Maverick Descent Maverick Legend Maverick XKR Maverick CrossTracker
Car Type 2-door coupe 4-door small car 4-door sedan 4-door extended hatchback 4-door crossover SUV
Years on the market 25 30 15 10 3
Years since last redesign 15 12 8 5 3
Percentage of Maverick’s sales 7% 18% 27% 34% 14%
Submarket category coupes/sports cars 4-door small cars 4-door sedans hatchbacks/wagons crossovers/small SUVs
# of total cars in category 36 78 78 28 55
This year’s sales position in category 30 37 23 8 42
Last year’s sales position in category 28 36 24 11 48
Next year’s projected position in category 34 38 23 5 35
MSRP $14,999 $18,999 $22,999 $25,999 $28,999
Seating capacity 4 5 5 5 5
Fuel economy (city/hwy) 28/38 24/33 22/31 22/32 20/21
Luxury level (1 is basic, 10 is high luxury) 2 4 4 6 7
Available upgrades Leather package Leather package, chrome wheels Leather package, chrome wheels, upgraded stereo system Leather package, chrome wheels, upgraded stereo system, tinted windows Leather package, chrome wheels, upgraded stereo system, tinted windows, plug-In hybrid package ($6,800)
You have been brought in as a consultant to help Maverick Auto Company understand its product portfolio and present to stakeholders on how you intend to use product management techniques to manage their product development process. You will create a document that maps out the product life cycle from creation to launch. You will use a phase and gate map that visualizes each step for stakeholders, showing the process, ideas, and concepts in a timeframe appropriate for the product.
Then, using the research provided by the research team, determine which vehicle is in decline and should be replaced within the next five years.
The Maverick Market research team has provided the following insights into the current state of customer wants and needs:
• Customers are less interested in small coupe-style vehicles.
• Customers like the option to upgrade the engine system to include more fuel-efficient options, like a hybrid fuel option.
• Customers often think of Maverick as a good commuter car, good starter vehicle, or good second family vehicle to complement a larger vehicle.
• Maverick vehicles are popular in areas with adverse winter weather or frequent rain storms because of their all-wheel drive system.
• Customers like to be able to seat five passengers without feeling too cramped.
• Customers like the options to upgrade to a sport package, with front and side trim pieces, a rear spoiler, and a supercharged engine.
• Most car companies are coming out with crossover SUV models and very few sedan or wagon-style vehicles.
• There are very few smaller all-wheel drive model vehicles on the market.
• There are few smaller vehicles that come with the plug-in hybrid as an optional upgrade, rather than standard.
Deliverable 1: Product Analysis and Recommendation
Stakeholders have asked for a product analysis and recommendation to accompany your phase and gate map. This analysis should use product management techniques to inform product development recommendations.
• Stakeholders have asked you to conduct a product analysis on the five cars in Maverick Auto Company’s product portfolio. Using information from the product portfolio and customer needs, provide the following to your stakeholders:
o Your professional recommendation for which car is in decline and should be replaced in the next five years
o Explanation for your reasoning
• Use the customer research that has been provided in the scenario to help guide your analysis.
o Use at least three customer insights to justify your recommendation to stakeholders.
Deliverable 2: Phase and Gate Map
The phase and gate map is a product management technique used to inform product management decisions. Your stakeholders have asked you to support recommendations for each phase with examples. Consider how this informs your recommendations in the product analysis and recommendation that you created.
• Using what you have learned, complete the phase and gate map for the stakeholders of Maverick Auto Company.
o Use the template provided for you. (This template is provided for you in the Deliverables section.)
• In considering the company’s product portfolio, explain techniques you would recommend for product development.
o Techniques can include questions to ask, product prototypes, activities, etc.
o For Gate 1, provide 5—10 different questions that would help screen various ideas.
o For Phase 1, provide 5—10 different techniques or activities that should take place determine if a product can move on to the next phase. You should also indicate which stakeholders are required for each technique or activity.
o For Gates 2, 3, 4 and 5, write 8—15 questions that need to be asked to help determine if product ideas should be moved on to the next phase.
o For Phase 2, provide techniques and activities to prepare a business case for stakeholders, providing 5—10 techniques to do so.
o For Phase 3, provide techniques and activities that will help the design and development of a prototype, providing 5—10 techniques for stakeholders.
o For Phase 4, provide techniques and activities to help test and validate the product, providing 5—10 techniques for stakeholders.
o For Phase 5, provide techniques and activities to help launch the final product, providing 5—10 techniques for stakeholders.
• For each phase, support your recommendations with examples and reasoning to justify the techniques you have chosen.
What to Submit
Every project has a deliverable or deliverables, which are the files that must be submitted before your project can be assessed. For this project, you must submit the following:

1. Professional Recommendation (250—300 words)
After analyzing Maverick Auto Company’s product line, make a professional recommendation on which product is in decline and should be replaced within the next five years. You should provide an explanation to support your recommendation.
2. Phase and Gate Map
Complete the provided phase and gate map to present to the stakeholders of Maverick Auto Company. Your map should be a professional document using the industry’s product line to help drive your responses.

Supporting Materials
The following resources may help support your work on the project:
Citation Help
Need help citing your sources? Use the CfA Citation Guide and Citation Maker.
Reading: Accelerating Product Developments Via Phase-Gate Processes
Video: Stage-Gate in a Nutshell (4:23)
Reading: The Product Life Cycle
Reading: Product Life Cycle
IDEA SCREENING AND SCOPING THE CONCEPT: (sec 1.4) (sec 4.4) (sec 10.5) (Sec 12.1)
Resource: Principles of Management
Having specific, well-defined goals and objectives is extremely important to a company’s success. Without them, there can be no clear focus and no true measurement of progress. These three sections from a FlatWorld e-book introduce several ideas for determining financial objectives. They also explain how and why various managerial factors should be considered crucial elements from a financial perspective when a company is determining its product strategy.
Read the following sections of this FlatWorld e-book:
• Section 6.1 (The Nature of Goals and Objectives)
• Section 6.2 (Management by Objectives and the Balanced Scorecard)
• Section 14.6 (Crafting Your Balanced Scorecard)
While reading this material, consider the following questions:
• What financial strategies should a company explore to support a product?
• How do goals and objectives lead to ideas and concepts that a company can use for its product(s)?
• What are the financial objectives of an organization that wishes to introduce a new product into the marketplace?
• Which steps should an organization take to ensure the successful implementation of a product?
PRODUCT MANAGEMENT CONSIDERATIONS: (sec 5.4) (sec 5.5) (sec 6.4) (sec 1.5) (sec 14.3)

Intellectual Property Rights: What Researchers Need to Know
Reading: My Lessons Learned From Five Years of Assessing Manufacturing Operations
Conducting honest, accurate organizational health assessments on a regular basis can help determine the direction a business should take moving forward. One very important type of assessment occurs on the operational side. In this blog post, consultant and project manager James Mok provides examples of the lessons he learned from assessing the manufacturing operations of his company during a five-year period. He also shares some ideas about the factors that should be considered during an operational assessment.
While reviewing this material, consider the following questions:
• What are some measurable benefits an organization can gain by assessing its operations?
• How might information gleaned from assessments help managers coach employees for organizational success?
• What are some operational assessment steps an organization can take to improve its chances of being financially successful?
DESIGN AND DEVELOPMENT: (sec 11.4) (Sec 12.2) (sec 10.1) (sec 1.4) (sec 13.3) (pg 142-143)
TESTING AND VALIDATION: (sec 10.2) (sec 7.1) (Sec 16.1)
PRODUCT LAUNCH: (sec 5.3) (sec 15.1) (sec 9.3)


Three former GM employees founded Maverick Auto Company in Dearborn, Michigan, in 1968. Their goal was to be a tiny, nimble automaker that could respond to their consumers’ requirements and desires. They are a niche brand in the motor industry, but they have a devoted following. All-wheel-drive cars and crossover SUVs are their expertise. A matrix of basic information about their current product selection may be seen below:
Sprinter Maverick
Descent of the Maverick
Legendary Maverick
XKR Maverick
CrossTracker Maverick
Type of vehicle 2-door coupe 4-door tiny car
a four-door sedan, a four-door extended hatchback, and a four-door crossover SUV
Years on the market 25 30 15 10 3 Years since the last makeover 15 12 8 5 3 %

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