Ford opts to slow F-150 Lightning EV production, not lower price

Ford is reducing planned production volumes of the F-150 Lightning electric pickup truck by half next year, Automotive News reported Monday, citing a memo addressed to suppliers.

According to the memo, Ford has told suppliers to prepare for average volume of around 1,600 Lightnings per week at the Rouge Electric Vehicle Center in Dearborn, Michigan, starting in January. Ford previously discussed volume of 3,200 trucks per week and an annual target of 150,000 trucks, Automotive News noted.

The memo stated “changing market demand” as the reason. Ford has declined to comment regarding this report.

Pre-production Ford F-150 Lightning – Rouge Electric Vehicle Center

However, this may be an indication that Ford has simply reached the maximum for high-sticker-price versions of its F-150 Lightning—as the company ramped up prices and then lowered them only somewhat this past summer.

Prices on the Lightning remain far higher than Ford promised at launch, just 18 months ago. The summer price cut brought the base price down to $51,990, but Ford originally said the least-expensive versions of the Lightning would cost closer to $40,000. It could of course spur more interest by lowering the price.

The first signs of trouble came this summer, when Ford lowered its 2023 EV production targets, pointing to cost. In recent months, Ford has paused (and then resumed at a lesser scale) its Michigan LFP battery factory touted as the key for affordable EVs. And it delayed one of two Kentucky battery plants that had been due to supply next-generation EVs.

Pre-production Ford F-150 Lightning - Rouge Electric Vehicle Center

Pre-production Ford F-150 Lightning – Rouge Electric Vehicle Center

CEO Jim Farley suggested last year that he anticipated an EV price war and industry consolidation. And earlier this year he suggested that EV price parity with gasoline vehicles might not arrive until 2030.

In addition to uncertainty around manufacturing costs and vehicle prices, as well as other electric trucks like the Rivian R1T and even the Tesla Cybertruck stealing a bit of the spotlight, Ford’s hype over the F-150 Lightning’s replacement might also be a factor. Farley has teased the company’s upcoming 2025 electric pickup—which, unlike the Lightning, will be based on a dedicated EV platform—as the “Millennium Falcon of trucks.”