Ford has made a major revision in its production plans for the 2024 F-150 Lightning. The company is expected to reduce the production volume of this electric pickup by 50%, a decision shaped by the evolving market demand and broader industry trends.
This recalibration comes as the automotive industry experiences a slower-than-anticipated growth in EV sales, leading to a general pullback in EV investment. Ford’s decision emphasizes the need for agility in responding to market shifts.
Ford has been actively adapting its production strategies to align with market realities. In October, the company had to temporarily idle one of the three shifts at the Lightning plant, impacting around 700 workers. This was part of a broader strategy to recalibrate production in line with current demand.
Initially, Ford’s goal was to ramp up the production of the F-150 Lightning to 3,200 units per week, targeting an annual output of 150,000. However, recent developments have led the automaker to revise these figures downward, now aiming for approximately 1,600 Lightnings each week at its Rouge Electric Vehicle Center in Dearborn, Michigan, starting January.
In contrast, the production of Ford’s gasoline-powered pickups in Michigan and Missouri will remain largely unaffected, underscoring a strategic balancing act between traditional and electric models.
Kumar Galhotra, Ford’s COO, had previously expressed strong optimism about the market’s readiness for an all-electric F-150. However, the recent slowdown in EV demand has prompted a reevaluation of such ambitious production targets, affecting not only automakers but also suppliers who had heavily invested in meeting these initial projections.
Ford’s overall EV strategy has also seen adjustments according to Automotive News. The company has delayed approximately $12 billion in EV investments and modified some of its production targets, including changes to the Mustang Mach-E production and delays in opening a battery plant in Kentucky.
Despite these challenges, the EV market, including Ford’s F-150 Lightning, continues to grow, albeit at a slower pace. The CFO of Ford, John Lawler, emphasized this point during the company’s third-quarter earnings call in October, noting that the growth rate, while slower than expected, remains positive.
Encouragingly, Ford’s F-150 Lightning sales have been increasing, with a record 4,393 trucks sold in November and a 54% jump in U.S. Ford sales to 20,365 through November of this year.