Ford is reducing production of its electric F-150 Lightning pickup and said that while it expects continued growth in global EV sales in 2024, it is ‘less than anticipated’.
The move is another sign that automakers are being caught by an apparent stall in consumer demand for electric vehicles in markets across the world where they are ramping up EV production plans.
Ford also said it will create nearly 900 new jobs and add a third crew at its Michigan Assembly Plant (in Wayne) to increase production of the Bronco and Bronco Raptor sport-utility vehicles and the upcoming new Ranger and Ranger Raptor pickups.
Ford said it continues to ‘balance production to meet customer demand for its broad portfolio of trucks, utility vehicles and cars with a mix of gas, hybrid and electric powertrains.’
In addition to nearly 900 net new hires, the new 1,600-person third crew at Michigan Assembly Plant will also include approximately 700 employees from Ford’s Rouge Complex in Dearborn who applied for job openings.
Ford said it is adding the manpower this summer to support planned future volume increases for vehicle lines assembled at the plant. The new Ranger and Ranger Raptor are on track to launch this year.
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Ford’s Michigan Assembly Plant will transition to producing vehicles seven days a week versus five currently, with three crews working two shifts.
Ford said it was America’s No. 2 best-selling electric vehicle brand in 2023 (Tesla top), and F-150 Lightning is America’s best-selling electric truck with sales up 55% in 2023 and further growth forecast for 2024.
“We are taking advantage of our manufacturing flexibility to offer customers choices while balancing our growth and profitability. Customers love the F-150 Lightning, America’s bestselling EV pickup,” said Ford President and CEO Jim Farley. “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.”
Approximately 1,400 employees will be impacted as the Rouge Electric Vehicle Center transitions to one shift effective April 1. Roughly 700 will transfer to Michigan Assembly Plant and the others will be placed in roles at the Rouge Complex or other facilities in southeast Michigan, or take advantage of the Special Retirement Incentive Program agreed to in the 2023 Ford-UAW contract.
Ford also said a ‘few dozen employees’ could be impacted at component plants supporting F-150 Lightning production, depending on the number of employees who apply for the Special Retirement Incentive Program. Ford also said it would provide placements for impacted employees within southeast Michigan.