Ford Reduces F-150 Lightning Production Amid Slowing EV Demand

Ford F-150 Lightning riding on the road at night after being announced there will be a production cut
The Ford F-150 Lightning / Credits: Ford

Key Points

  • Ford announces a production cut for the F-150 Lightning due to slowing electric vehicle demand.
  • The company’s workforce faces changes, with a transition to a single shift at the Rouge Electric Vehicle Center.
  • Ford shifts focus towards hybrid models in response to changing consumer preferences.

On Friday, Ford Motor Co has announced a reduction in the production of its all-electric F-150 Lightning pickup truck. This decision comes as the automotive giant grapples with a slowdown in electric vehicle (EV) demand, despite the industry’s overall growth expectations for 2024.

The F-150 Lightning, a beacon of Ford’s venture into the EV market, was first seen at the Rouge Electric Vehicle Center in Dearborn, Michigan, back in September 2021. However, the recent shift in market dynamics has led Ford to recalibrate its production strategy.

While Ford remains optimistic about the long-term prospects of EVs, acknowledging a continued global sales growth in 2024, the company has admitted that this growth is likely to be lower than initially anticipated. This adjustment in expectations is a stark reminder of the volatile nature of the automotive market, particularly in the EV sector.

The production cut is expected to have a direct impact on the workforce. Ford has indicated that a few dozen employees involved in component plants supporting the F-150 Lightning production could face the consequences of this decision. This news underscores the ongoing challenges facing legacy car manufacturers as they navigate the transition to electric and hybrid models.

Interestingly, Ford has observed a shift in consumer preferences towards hybrid vehicles. Over the past year, there has been a notable increase in the purchase of hybrid models, possibly influencing Ford’s decision to adjust its focus and production strategies.

In addition to the changes in F-150 Lightning production, Ford has also announced significant operational shifts at its Rouge Electric Vehicle Center. Starting April 1, the center will transition to a single shift operation, impacting approximately 1,400 employees. This move is part of Ford’s broader strategy to streamline operations and adapt to the evolving market demands.

In a contrasting development, Ford remains committed to boosting its production in other areas. The company plans to add a third crew and create nearly 900 jobs at its Michigan assembly plant. This expansion is aimed at increasing the production of its popular Bronco SUVs and Ranger pickups, indicating a strategic pivot towards models with currently higher demand.

Ford’s decision to cut back on its F-150 Lightning production is a significant development in the automotive industry, reflecting the complex and rapidly changing landscape of electric vehicle production and consumer demand. As the industry continues to evolve, Ford’s adaptability and strategic adjustments will be closely watched by industry experts and consumers alike.

 

Sources: 

https://www.reuters.com/business/autos-transportation/ford-reduce-f-150-lightning-production-2024-01-19/

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