Ford confirmed that it has temporarily cut a shift at its F-150 Lightning electric pickup plant in Detroit, possibly signaling demand is drying up for the highly rated EV.
“We’re adjusting the schedule on the Rouge Electric Vehicle Center due to multiple constraints, including the provision chain and dealing through processing and delivering vehicles held for quality checks after restarting production in August,” Ford said in a press release regarding the shift reduction. Ford said 700 jobs could be affected by the shift cut, and that the roles impacted weren’t attributable to the continued UAW rise up strikes.
Despite this statement, nonetheless, it appears there could also be more to that story. The Wall Street Journal was first to report last Friday that Ford was considering cutting a shift at its Rouge electric vehicle plant, where the automaker builds the Lightning, citing a memo from an UAW official concerned about demand. “It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to determine that our sales for the Lightning have tanked,” the memo reportedly also said.
This could also explain the automaker’s recent decision to introduce big price cuts for the present 2023 F-150 Lightning EV, with Ford offering $7,500 in incentives for the Lariat and Platinum trims — which combined with the federal tax cut would potentially be a whopping $15,000 off the sticker price. Prior to this, Ford had cut prices on some trims of the Lightning back in July.
But before that, in March, Ford had boosted the worth of the Lightning Pro work truck by greater than $20,000 — taking it to over $60,000. That trim has since eased back to a starting price of $49,995.
“We expect Ford’s announcement is emblematic of the difficulties traditional automakers have faced with ramping up EV production, but additionally reflects consumer demand for EVs that wasn’t what it once seemed to be by way of the robust reservation counts for certain recent models,” CFRA analyst Garrett Nelson said to Yahoo Finance regarding the shift cut. “There’s been a growing mismatch between what automakers try to sell and what consumers need to buy.”
Ford’s production shift cut follows reports that the automaker had recently canceled dealer stock orders for the Lightning up to now month. Dealer stock orders are those who dealers place to have inventory in stock for patrons who’re involved in purchasing off the lot, versus special order. On the time, Ford said in a press release to Yahoo Finance that this wasn’t attributable to any particular issue, only that it had “canceled some dealer stock orders not submitted as pre-sold for [model year 2023] as a part of our preparations to changeover to [model year 2024] … No customer orders have been canceled by Ford.”
The confluence of shift cuts, pricing incentives, and canceling of dealer stock point to possible deterioration in F-150 Lightning demand, just because the automaker has said it should ramp up production of its traditional gas and hybrid F-150 models. Ford reported in Q3 that Lightning sales fell 46% yr over yr to three,503 vehicles sold.
“Ford and other automakers are beginning to reconsider their EV growth strategies, shifting away from pure battery EVs more towards plug-in hybrids and even ICEs [internal combustion engines],” CFRA’s Nelson said.
Investors might be searching for more color on the Lightning — and overall EV demand — when Ford reports earnings after market close on Tuesday, Oct. 26.
This Article First Appeared At www.autoblog.com