Ford has resumed F-150 Lightning production at its Rouge Electric Vehicle Center (REVC) in Dearborn, MI, after a six-week shutdown.
The plant was temporarily offline as Ford worked to expand and retool the facility in order to triple its manufacturing capacity. By this fall, the automaker will have the ability to produce the F-150 Lightning at an annualized rate of 150,000 units.
While the temporary shutdown of the Rouge EV Center limited customer deliveries this summer, Ford said the facility is now ready to accelerate the ramp-up process to unlock supply and help meet demand for its electric truck.
The facility is on track to build more than 70,000 F-150 Lightning trucks in calendar year 2023 with production for U.S. customers expected to ramp in the fall.
"We are all looking forward to getting these F-150 Lightning trucks into the hands of our customers---from the U.S. to Norway. This milestone is the result of a lot of hard work and collaboration," said Debbie Manzano, director of manufacturing for Ford.
Besides increasing production capacity, the new tooling is also said to support Ford's drive for high quality. That's because the Rouge Electric Vehicle Center now uses equipment to automatically measure and validate exterior body fit for margin and flushness precision. It's the first time a Ford North American plant has used such tools.
In addition, a third station was added to validate wheel alignment and headlamp aim for driver assist technology. Ford said training for 1,200 additional manufacturing employees will continue for three weeks, with incoming operators shadowing experienced employees in a buddy system for rapid onboarding.
To match the scale of F-150 Lightning assembly at the main plant, Ford is also ramping up production of battery packs at the Rawsonville Components Plant and EV power units at the Van Dyke Electric Powertrain Center in Michigan.
The production capacity increase at REVC leads to shorter order-to-delivery times for customers. Ford is focusing on building high-demand trim levels like XLT, which makes up more than 50% of new orders.
Furthermore, the F-150 Lightning Pro is now available again for retail customers in limited quantities, with the units allocated for loyal reservation holders who have been waiting to order since launch.
Finally, Ford said the increased production capacity also opens up the opportunity to broaden the number of trim levels offered across the lineup, something customers have been asking for since the reveal.
"We have learned a lot from our first-ever EV truck customers, including a preference for technology and visual differentiation. We continue to refine the F-150 Lightning lineup to make the jump to an EV truck an easy choice for customers," said Marin Gjaja, chief customer officer, Ford Model e.