It’s only been a year since Ford Motors announced that it would be ramping up production of the all-electric F-50 Lightning, its contribution to the electric truck market. However, though it has hardly been a long time since it announced that decision, Ford is already slashing production plans for the truck in half, beginning as soon as early 2024.
As background, many electric vehicle producers have had to roll back some of their more expansive plans, as declining consumer interest, decreasing economic prospects for prospective customers, the high cost of capital, and other issues, such as continuing problems with range and battery life, lead to far fewer sales than they anticipated.
So, in response to that consumer sentiment issue, Ford now plans to produce just 1,600 Ford F-150 Lightnings a week at its Rouge Electric Vehicle Center in Dearborn, Michigan. That plant, which assembles all of Ford’s electric pickup trucks, had previously announced that it would produce 3.200 of the EV trucks a week.
Automotive News obtained a copy of the memo that Ford sent out about the planned production cuts. Reporting on the memo, that outlet said that the EV production cuts are in the pipeline thanks to “changing market demand” surrounding electric vehicles. Ford, for its part, told CNBC that it plans to “continue to match production with customer demand.”
The move to cut production comes after Ford invested massive amounts in electric vehicle production, but chose to forgo spending more on that sort of product recently. In fact, it recently announced that it would be postponing about $12 billion in electric vehicle manufacturing capacity investments.
Speaking on the matter, Ford CFO John Lawler said, “We’re not moving away from our second generation [EV] products. We are, though, looking at the pace of capacity that we’re putting in place. We are going to push out some of that investment.”
Continuing, CFO Lawler added that its plans would be determined by how many of the electric vehicles customers want to purchase, saying, “The customer is going to decide what the volumes are. Ford is able to balance production of gas, hybrid and electric vehicles to match the speed of EV adoption in a way that others can’t.”
Ford has so far sold about 20,000 of the F-150 Lightnings. While up about 54 percent from 2022, that number is hardly indicative of it needing to ramp capacity up to 3,500 a week, as was the original plan. Further, the sales increase was buoyed by its decision to slash the EV truck’s price by $10,000 over the summer of 2023.
While that increased consumer interest by making the most affordable version of the truck cost about $50,000, a SuperCrew version of the combustion engine-powered F-150 costs about $10,000 less than that at its normal price, and has a longer effective range, faster fill up time, and more proven track record, making it far more desirable to many truck purchasers. Further, with inflation remaining a persistent problem and fixed costs to pay for, how long Ford can suppress prices to increase interest is unclear.