Ford Motor Company has announced a significant reduction in its electric vehicle F-150 Lightning production, in response to slowing demand in the EV market. This decision marks a major shift in the electric vehicle sector, reflective of broader automotive industry trends.
The F-150 Lightning’s decline in consumer interest has led Ford to revise its production strategy. Starting April 1, the Michigan Rouge Electric Vehicle Center will scale back to a single shift from its original multi-shift operation. This follows a previous reduction in October.
This change aligns with an industry-wide trend of decreasing enthusiasm for EV trucks, as evidenced by General Motors delaying a new $4 billion electric truck plant in Michigan.
Ford’s revised production target is about 1,600 F-150 Lightning trucks per week from January 2024, down from a planned 3,200 units. This strategic reduction aims to balance production with market demand and profitability.
The decision is influenced by the automotive industry’s concerns over the Biden Administration’s ambitious emissions regulations, which propose that 67% of new vehicles will be EVs by 2032—a target viewed as overly aggressive by automakers.
Approximately 1,400 workers at the Rouge EV plant are affected by this scale-back, with around 700 being transferred to the Michigan Assembly Plant and others reassigned within Ford’s Michigan facilities. A special retirement program is also offered to impacted workers.
Ford acknowledges a slower growth rate in global EV sales in 2024 and recognizes the potential impact on employees in related component plants. Financially, Ford reported a loss of about $36,000 per EV delivered to dealers in Q3 of 2023, prompting a shift towards commercial vehicles and gas-electric hybrids over the next five years.
Despite the focus shift, the 2023 F-150 Lightning was the top-selling electric truck in the U.S. last year. Ford is adjusting its EV strategy, including pricing and features for the 2024 Lightning model.
Ford’s decision to cut back F-150 Lightning production is a significant development in the EV industry, signaling a period of adjustment for automakers amidst evolving consumer preferences, economic challenges, and regulatory pressures.
Image Source: Ford Media