The last few weeks have been packed with news on electric pickups – from the delivery of the first handful of Tesla Cybertrucks to – now – news from Ford that it will be scaling back its electric version of the F-150.
Automotive News is reporting that Ford plans to reduce production of its Lightning full EV pickup by 50% starting in January. They cite a document allegedly sent to a Ford supplier expressing that the automaker will scale back its run rate from 3,200 trucks to about 1,600 trucks per week.
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The Detroit Free Press adds that Ford claims this move has nothing to do with Tesla’s Cyber Truck – a model that won’t reach production on most models until 2025. They say it’s actually part of a monthlong planning effort where they’ve worked to better match supply with demand.
And the demand part has been a challenge of late. The F-150 was released to great fanfare in 2021 and Ford doubled production before closing its reservations system in 2022 due to overwhelming interest. But a year later, after filling many orders and also facing a glut of new competition, including a Chevy Silverado, GMC Sierra and the popular newcomer Rivian, Ford has some challenges to address.
Analysts have expressed concern that automakers – having plucked the low hanging fruit of EV customers – will need to lower prices and add bells & whistles – including range – in order to lure the next crop of buyers.
The Free Press quoted John Lawler, Ford’s CFO, as saying last month that Ford is “not NOT moving forward” with EV plans, rather working to match its capacity with the demand. Ford has also expressed its emphasis on building a hybrid portfolio to straddle the line between electric and gas.
At the same time, the company has recently underscored its commitment to its gas-powered trucks, a profit center that’s been able to defray the costs of the EV transition as Ford, and its competitors, look to scale them to the point of profitability.