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Ford tells suppliers it’s halving F-150 Lightning production

By admin Dec13,2023
Enlarge / Electric Ford F-150 Lightnings being built at the Rouge Electric Vehicle Center in Dearborn, Michigan.

Ford

On Monday, Automotive News reported that Ford’s suppliers have been told by the automaker that from January it is halving the production rate of its F-150 Lightning from 3,200 trucks a week down to 1,600 trucks a week.

Ford debuted a fully electric version of its best-selling F-150 pickup truck in 2022. You’d be hard-pressed to tell the electric F-150 Lightning from a gas- or diesel-burning F-150—bar some aerodynamic detailing here and there, they all use the same body, and the EV hides its batteries neatly between the chassis rails.

That conservatism in design appeared to be a winning strategy with the pickup crowd. Ford’s order books were flooded with over 200,000 reservations well before the truck hit the streets, spurring the automaker to announce last January that it would double its original production plan and aim for an annual production rate of 150,000 trucks a year.

It probably helped that the F-150 Lightning appeared to be keenly priced—a commercial model with a smaller battery was meant to start at $39,974 before tax credits.

But things didn’t quite work out that way. Ford’s EV division, called Model e, isn’t close to being profitable yet, and may not be until 2026 at the earliest. Sensing strong demand, the automaker raised the Lightning’s prices, and even after a price cut in July, the cheapest electric F-150 still costs $49,995.

Add to that a string of stories this year about overflowing EV inventories and a dearth of buyers, and the result is a case of cold feet.

Yesterday (and actually in response to a query about Mustang Mach-E production), a Ford spokesperson told Ars: “In November of this year, we said as the market and our customers transition to EVs, we will balance volume with demand while keeping focus on cost. It’s not solely about delivering a specific volume by a specific date, it’s about building a profitable, enduring business with competitive cost structure.” When we followed up with Ford about changes to the F-150 Lightning production plan, it told us that “we will continue to match Lightning production to customer demand.”

By admin

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