Ford will shut down one of two production shifts in April at the Dearborn, Michigan, factory that builds the F-150 Lightning electric pickup. The move is part of "matching F-150 Lightning production to customer demand," the company said Friday.
General Motors recently made a similar announcement about its Chevrolet Silverado EV, announcing it would postpone adding production facilities for the truck, which went into production last spring for corporate customers.
While sales of electric vehicles increased in 2023, the growth was slower than many industry experts had expected. Ford still projects an increase in Lightning sales this year after a 55% jump to 24,000 trucks last year. The company did not say how many F-150 Lightnings it expects to sell this year.
The 24,000 in Lightning sales is still a small fraction of overall Ford F-series pickup sales. The F-series is Ford's best-selling product line and has been the best-selling vehicle of any kind in the United States for almost 50 years. Last year, Ford sold more than 750,000 F-series trucks.
The price of a Lightning starts at about $50,000 and is eligible for $7,500 in federal EV tax credits. Even with the tax credits, the price remains higher than the $34,000 base price of the gas-powered truck.
Ford has raised and lowered the price of the Lightning several times since it hit the market in 2022, starting at about $40,000 for its least expensive model, the Lightning Pro. In July, Ford slashed the price of a Lightning Pro, following earlier increases, to about $50,000.
About 1,400 workers will be cut from the Rouge Electric Vehicle Center, where the Lightning is built. About half of those employees will move to the nearby Michigan Assembly Plant, where production will increase for the gasoline-powered Ford Bronco and Ranger models.
Other workers will be shifted to different jobs within the Rouge complex, which includes a factory where gas-powered F-150 trucks are built. Some of the employees could take advantage of retirement packages agreed to as part of new United Auto Workers contracts signed in October
While Ford has said it is building factories in Tennessee and Kentucky where a next-generation EV truck will be built, the company recently announced it would scale back plans for an EV battery plant in Michigan.
"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," Ford chief executive Jim Farley said in the announcement.
Meanwhile, Stellantis CEO Carlos Tavares told reporters Friday that the automaker has no plans to slow down its upcoming EV production, although the pace of adoption could change as a result of the US presidential and European Parliament elections this year.
"I've prepared two scenarios, based on what what would be the results of those major elections in Europe and the United States. I'm ready for both scenarios. It's an acceleration scenario and a slowdown scenario," Tavares said. "I have no scenario where it would stop because we need to fix the global warming issue."
Stellantis' own electric pickup, the Ram 1500 Rev, will go on sale later this year, along with a plug-in hybrid version, the Ram 1500 Ramcharger.
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