Ford is reducing the number of shifts working on Ford F-150 Lightning pickup production from three to a single shift at the Rouge Electric Vehicle Center, according to an announcement it made today, as demand levels for the all-electric truck remain below original expectations.
The Blue Oval says its reduction in Ford F-150 Lightning production are part of a strategy to “achieve the optimal balance of production, sales growth and profitability” and that it is “balancing” manufacturing levels of various models to meet demand.
Ford notes that it expects 2024 EV sales to increase year-over-year, although “less than anticipated.” The automaker’s president and CEO Jim Farley remarked that the Ford F-150 Lightning still holds the title of “America’s best-selling EV pickup,” adding some qualified optimism by stating “we see a bright future for electric vehicles for specific consumers.” Lightning sales grew 53 percent during 2023.
Stepping production at the Rouge Electric Vehicle Center from three shifts to one will remove the need for approximately 1,400 workers at the facility. About 50 percent of these employees will be transferred to the Michigan Assembly Plant in Wayne, where they will work on the assembly lines producing the Ford Bronco, Ford Bronco Raptor, Ford Ranger and Ford Ranger Raptor.
The other roughly 700 workers will either be placed in positions at regional facilities or offered an early retirement package based on the contract that recently emerged from the UAW Stand Up Strike.
The Blue Oval’s decision to scale back Ford F-150 Lightning production by approximately two thirds, effective April 1st, casts some light on GM’s recent assessment of slower demand for EV pickup trucks. In October, the General announced it has pushed back production of the Chevy Silverado EV and GMC Sierra EV at the GM Lake Orion Assembly plant from late 2024 to late 2025.
The two models, as well as the Chevy Equinox EV, also had their launch delayed in part by the UAW strike. Production of GM’s Ultium-based electric vehicles was also constrained by problems involving an unspecified automation equipment supplier. Also in October, the automaker said it had abandoned its plans to produce 400,000 EVs in North America by summer of 2024.
However, GM still believes it can reach its production goal of producing1 million EVs annually in North America by 2025’s end. It also maintains its goal of a fully electrified lineup by 2035 and anticipates that its EVs will achieve profitability by the second half of 2024.
Subscribe to GM Authority for more General Motors business news, General Motors electric vehicle news, General Motors technology news, General Motors production news, and around-the-clock GM news coverage.