Ford Doubles Lightning Production Target Following Strong Pre-Launch Demand, Auto News, ET Auto
By Ben Klayman and Joseph White
DETROIT: Ford Motor Co has doubled its production target for the F-150 Lightning due to initial strong demand for the full-size electric pickup ahead of its launch in 2022, and the company plans to spend an additional $ 850 million to achieve this goal, several people and vendors familiar with the plans said.
The No.2 U.S. automaker is targeting annual production of more than 80,000 by 2024, up from a previous target of more than 40,000, according to sources, who asked not to be identified. Ford shares rose 1.3% on Monday.
“They were pleasantly surprised by the demand for the Lightning,” one of the sources said of Ford officials.
Industry watchers have questioned whether individual buyers would move away from their gasoline-powered vans for electric models, but commercial customers are pushing for electric trucks and vans to reduce their carbon footprint.
The ramp to the new production target includes plans to build around 15,000 next year after the electric truck’s spring launch and 55,000 in 2023, a second source said. After the launch of the second generation of Lightning in late 2025, the annual target is just under 160,000.
The increase comes on top of the 50% increase announced by Ford last November, the sources said.
The more optimistic goals are driven by strong pre-launch demand for the vehicle, especially from commercial customers, the sources said.
“We are excited about customer demand for the F-150 Lightning and already have 120,000 customer bookings, and we will continue to look for ways to break through the constraints and meet customer demand,” Ford said in a statement. communicated. The company declined to comment further.
Ford and other global automakers are rushing to move their gasoline-powered lines to electric power under pressure from regions like Europe and China to reduce vehicle emissions. US President Joe Biden has asked for $ 174 billion to boost production, sales and infrastructure of electric vehicles in the United States.
In May, Ford announced plans to increase its electrification spending by 2030 by more than a third to more than $ 30 billion. Ford also announced this month plans to form a battery joint venture with South Korean battery maker SK Innovation Co that would open two factories in North America.
Ford’s EV strategy is focused on leveraging its strongest brands, the electric F-150 and Transit minivan joining the Mustang Mach-E SUV. The gasoline F-150 has been the best-selling vehicle in the United States for more than four decades.
Other automakers who are considering introducing electric pickup trucks include General Motors Co and Tesla Inc, as well as startups Lordstown Motors Corp, Canoo Inc and Rivian. Ford owns a stake in Rivian.
The increase in Lightning’s production target worries some suppliers about the additional investment it will entail, and whether demand for electric pickups will meet Ford’s expectations.
“It really puts suppliers at risk if the volume does not materialize,” said a supplier manager, who asked not to be identified.
The redesigned F-150 Lightning, slated for late 2025, is expected to be the first to use Ford’s new TE1 truck architecture, AutoForecast Solutions has previously said. The first-gen Lightning uses a platform heavily derived from the standard F-150.