A report from the Reuters news service says that Ford has doubled its production target for the F-150 Lightning electric pickup to 80,000 for 2024. The move is said to be based on strong demand from both retail and commercial customers.
Ford says it has 120,000 $100 pre-orders for the EV truck, which is scheduled to launch next spring with a 15,000-unit run for the 2022 model year. Ford will spend an extra $850 million to reach its new goal, according to the Reuters report. In a statement to Car and Driver, Ford didn’t confirm the details of its production plans but said it “will continue to look for ways to break constraints and meet customer demand.”
The constraints Ford is looking to break aren’t just the usual challenges of ramping up production of an electric vehicle: sourcing the materials, building the batteries, trying to convince customers they’re a good idea. There will also undoubtedly be roadblocks related to ongoing global supply-chain issues that have been upending automakers’ production plans for much of the past year.
Ford has been forced to make numerous production cuts because of the microchip shortage that has been affecting the whole auto industry. This spring, Ford resorted to assembling thousands of F-150 pickups sans crucial microchips and then storing them in parking lots across Metro Detroit until the chips could be sourced and installed. The company has announced multiple delays related to its much-anticipated Bronco SUV. The most recent was due to a quality issue with the available hard top (sourced from a supplier), which was found to degrade when exposed to heavy rains.
That all probably explains why Ford is planning a gradual production ramp-up for the F-150 Lightning as opposed to a market flood. The plan outlined by Reuters says Ford hopes to build 15,000 Lightnings for the 2022 model year, a relatively soft target considering the company sold 12,975 Mustang Mach-E EVs in the first half of 2021. Reuters says Ford will plan to build 55,000 Lightnings in 2023, then 80,000 in 2024. The Lightning is scheduled for a redesign for 2025, after which point Ford hopes to be selling 160,000 EV pickups each year. That would have accounted for 18 percent of F-series pickup sales in 2019, a healthy share considering EVs currently make up only a very small portion of the new-car market in the U.S. Ford is counting on orders from commercial customers to boost adoption of the EV F-150.
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From: Car and Driver
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