Ford Slashes F-150 Lightning Production Amid EV Demand Dip

Despite a surge in sales last year, the company informed suppliers it has halved its weekly production goal, from 3,200 trucks to 1,600.

Ford-F-150-Lightning-production-reduction

Ford announced Jan. 19 a substantial reduction in the production of its F-150 Lightning electric pickup truck, amidst a broader softening in demand for EVs.

Ford will reduce its production capacity at the Michigan Rouge Electric Vehicle Center to a single shift starting April 1. This decision follows an October announcement where the automaker temporarily cut one of three shifts at the same Michigan plant, which is dedicated to building the electric pickup truck.

Ford's adjustment is not an isolated incident in the industry. In October, General Motors postponed the opening of a $4 billion electric truck plant in Michigan for a year, reflecting the broader trend of slowing demand for EV trucks.

Despite a surge in sales last year, with Ford selling 24,165 F-150 Lightning trucks in the U.S., up 55% from 2022, the company has now informed suppliers of a significant cutback in production. Initially planning to produce around 3,200 trucks per week, Ford has now halved this figure to approximately 1,600.

In contrast to the downsizing in the EV sector, Ford is ramping up production in other areas. The company announced the addition of a third crew and the creation of nearly 900 jobs at its Michigan assembly plant, aimed at boosting the production of gas-powered Bronco SUVs and Ranger pickups.

This production cut also comes at a politically charged time. Detroit automakers, including Ford, are expressing concerns over the Biden administration's aggressive push towards EVs. The Environmental Protection Agency's recent proposal to make 67% of all new vehicles EVs by 2032 has met with resistance from the industry. In December, the Republican-led House voted to halt the EPA's planned vehicle emissions regulations, a move that was threatened with a veto by the White House.

Amidst these regulatory debates, former President Donald Trump has expressed intentions to reverse the current administration's EV policies if he returns to office. Conversely, the White House continues to promote significant investments in EV and battery production, along with funding for new EV charging infrastructure.

The reduction in F-150 Lightning production impacts 1,400 workers at the plant. Ford plans to transfer around 700 employees to its Michigan Assembly Plant and reassign others within the Rouge Complex or other Michigan facilities. Some employees may also opt for a special retirement program.

Ford's decision comes in the wake of a challenging financial quarter. The company reported an estimated loss of $36,000 on each of the 36,000 EVs delivered to dealers in the third quarter. Ford's response includes a shift in investment focus towards its commercial vehicle unit and plans to quadruple sales of gas-electric hybrids over the next five years.

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