Ford is shifting its production strategy toward two gas-powered vehicles, with the automaker this week reiterating its plans to cut production of its F-150 Lightning electric pickup truck.
Last month, Ford initially announced its plans to cut F-150 Lightning production by about half. in press release Ford announced, shared on Friday, that 1,400 workers will be affected by the decision, which is scheduled to take effect on April 1.
According to the release, about 700 workers at the Rouge Electric Vehicle Center, where the F-150 Lightning is produced, are now being moved to the Michigan assembly plant to support production of the gas-powered Bronco and Bronco Raptor. The upcoming Raptor guard and guard.
The remainder will be offered positions at the Rouge complex in Dearborn or other Ford facilities in southeastern Michigan, or will be given the option to use a special retirement incentive program included in the UAW-Ford contract.
The automaker also says that a few dozen workers at component plants that currently support F-150 Lightning production could be affected by the news, depending largely on the number of employees applying for the retirement program. If that turns out to be the case, Ford says it will hire affected workers at its southeast Michigan facilities.
Ford will also hire 900 new employees at its Michigan assembly plant, adding a third shift of up to 1,600 workers to boost production to seven days a week, up from the current level of five days a week.
The automaker also says it expects electric vehicle (EV) sales to continue to grow this year, although lower than it previously expected, even as it prepares to launch the next generation of electric vehicles. Additionally, Ford says it has the ability to expand the range of gas-powered and hybrid F-150 units, as part of hopes of finding the right balance of powertrain configurations to meet consumer demand.
“We leverage our manufacturing flexibility to offer customers choices while balancing our growth and profitability,” said Jim Farley, CEO and president of Ford. “Customers love the F-150 Lightning, which is America's best-selling electric pickup. We see a bright future for electric vehicles for select consumers, especially with our upcoming digitally advanced electric vehicles and access to the Tesla charging network starting this quarter.”
At the time of writing, Ford has not responded Teslarati Request for comment on when F-150 Lightning production is expected to return to current levels.
The news comes after Ford finished 2023 with its best quarter ever for electric vehicles while top-selling vehicles fell in two separate electric segments. Despite this, a report released last month highlighted the fact that only about half of Ford dealers have signed up to participate in the “Model e” electric vehicle sales program, with several automakers expressing concerns surrounding demand for electric vehicles in recent months.
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