Ford ramps up production of F-150 Lightning to meet hot demand for EV pickups

The Ford F-150 Lightning electric pickup hasn’t gone on sale yet, but demand is so red that the automaker is already ramping up production.

Lightning’s first prototypes are rolling off an assembly line in Dearborn, Mich., for real-world testing, with the truck coming to dealerships this spring. But with 150,000 reservations already in place for its inaugural EV pickup truck, Ford (F) announced Thursday that it will invest an additional $250 million and add 450 more jobs at three Michigan plants to boost production. Will give This is on top of a $700 million investment it made last year to prepare its historic Rouge manufacturing plant for electric vehicle production.

Kumar Galhotra, president of Ford’s US and International markets group, told Yahoo Finance Live that the move will help increase production capacity to 80,000 trucks annually.

“The reservations have gone far beyond what we were originally planning to build,” Galhotra said. “At some point, as we get closer to production, customers will take a reservation and convert it into an order, and we expect most of the reservations to be converted into orders. We have built one for our Bronco launch and Mustang Mach. Followed the same reservation system. -E launch.”

Galhotra acknowledged that the COVID-19 pandemic and the ongoing global computer chip shortage have made production “challenging”.

“For example, there is a chip supplier in Malaysia that did not experience chip shortages per se but was hit with a substantial COVID outbreak, so when the two intersect, it will cause more disruption for us. cause,” he said. “But we are managing very well. Q3 production is going to be better than Q2.”

crowded EV market

Ford is joining the increasingly crowded electric truck market.

EV startup Rivian, which counts Ford as an investor, was supposed to launch its $67,500 electric truck in June, but the rollout was delayed until at least this fall, with other models scheduled to be delivered in early 2022. Were. Troubled Detroit-based upstart Lordstown (RIDE) has promised to begin production of its $50,000 Endurance electric pickup this month, while Tesla (TSLA)’s $40,000-plus entry-level Cybertruck is expected to hit the market later this year. have hope.

With a base model price of less than $40,000, Ford’s F-150 Lightning beats the competition. A $50,000 version boasts a range of 300 miles on a charge, promises 10,000 pounds of towing capacity and can go from 0 mph-60 mph in about 4.4 seconds.

A Ford Motors pre-production all-electric F-150 Lightning truck prototype is seen at the Rouge Electric Vehicle Center at the Rouge Complex in Dearborn, Michigan, US, September 16, 2021.  REUTERS/Rebecca Cook

A Ford Motors pre-production all-electric F-150 Lightning truck prototype is seen at the Rouge Electric Vehicle Center at the Rouge Complex in Dearborn, Michigan, US, September 16, 2021. REUTERS/Rebecca Cook

Ford’s decision to expand production capacity proves the company has confidence in its loyal customer base, which made its gas-powered F-150 America’s best-selling vehicle, to plug in an all-electric pickup. is ready.

“We know our truck customers very well,” Galhotra said. “By the way, when we launched the EcoBoost (Ford’s line of turbocharged, direct-injection gas engines), we had similar skepticism from a lot of people. People were telling us that customers only liked V-8s, So it may not have been successful, but it was incredibly successful.”

“I think we are repeating a similar transformation. Truck customers are very understanding,” he said.

Alexis Christophers is an anchor at Yahoo Finance. follow him on twitter @AlexisTVNews.



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