Ford Slashes F-150 Lightning Production, Adjusts Workforce

Automakers are dealing with a slowdown in demand as they try to attract the "early majority," who are less forgiving of drawbacks.


Ford Motor Co. announced a reduction in the production targets for its all-electric F-150 Lightning, along with a reassignment and reduction of its workforce at the Rouge Electric Vehicle Center in Dearborn, MI, amidst changing dynamics in battery technology and EV consumer demand.

Jessica Enoch, a Ford spokeswoman, confirmed to the Detroit Free Press that out of 2,100 workers at the Rouge Electric Vehicle Center, where the Lightning is built, only one-third will continue at the facility after April 1. Of the remaining 1,400 workers, about half will transfer to the Michigan Assembly Plant in Wayne, which produces the Bronco and Ranger, where a third crew is being added. The other half can either take a $50,000 lump sum retirement package, or transfer to another facility.

This workforce adjustment is in stark contrast to Ford's plans a year ago, when the company aimed to ramp up Lightning production.

The industry is facing challenges like battery range and new technology adoption, which are influencing production decisions and market strategies.

At the Bank of America Securities Auto Summit held March 26, Ford CFO John Lawler said customer demand for EVs "is much slower than the industry expected" as early adopters, who were more willing to deal with drawbacks like charging range, have already bought an EV, and now automakers have to attract the "early majority," which is not as willing to put up with those issues. In response, the company is "right-sizing" its investments into EV technology.

Ford has no plans to end production of internal combustion engines, and is also investing in hybrid platforms.

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