Ford is reducing production of the F-150 Lightning due to lower-than-expected demand, marking a shift at the Rouge Electric Vehicle Center in Michigan, the production site for the electric pickup. Starting April 1, the plant will move from two production shifts to one, affecting approximately 1,400 workers. About half of these workers will be transferred to the Michigan Assembly Plant, where a third crew is being established to meet demand for the Bronco, Bronco Raptor, new Ranger, and Ranger Raptor. Ford is hiring an additional 900 workers for this new shift.
Remaining F-150 Lightning workers impacted by the production cut will be reassigned to different roles at the Rouge plant or other Ford facilities in the region unless they opt for a retirement incentive offer. While Ford did not specify the extent of the production reduction, the shift from two to one indicates an approximate 50% drop, aligning with recent reports suggesting a reduction from around 3,200 units per week to 1,600, according to CNBC.
Despite retooling the Rouge facility in 2023 to accommodate an annual F-150 Lightning capacity of up to 150,000 units, demand has not met expectations. Although the EV’s sales increased by 55% last year, the pace of sales has slowed compared to previous periods.
Ford anticipates continued global growth in EV sales this year but at a lower rate than initially projected. With this in mind, and with next-gen EVs in development, the company has decided to scale back F-150 Lightning production for the foreseeable future. This move follows a similar reduction in production for the Mustang Mach-E announced in November.
Ford President and CEO Jim Farley commented on the decision, stating, “We are taking advantage of our manufacturing flexibility to offer customers choices while balancing our growth and profitability. Customers love the F-150 Lightning, America’s best-selling EV pickup. We see a bright future for electric vehicles for specific consumers, especially with our upcoming digitally advanced EVs and access to Tesla’s charging network beginning this quarter.”