Ford stunned the EV truck scene this week by announcing a 50% cut to 2024 F-150 Lightning production, move comes despite strong demand for the electric pickup, citing “changing market dynamics” as the impetus. Ford told suppliers received average volume of around 1,600 Lightnings a week starting in Jan. It assembles an avg of 3,200 a week today.
By reducing production to approximately 1,600 Lightnings per week, Ford is projecting around 83,000 units for 2024. Given manufacturing initially ramped up to meet strong preorder interest, this reversal hints at potential profitability challenges.
Worryingly, with scaled-back Lightning output, Tesla’s Cybertruck could outpace Ford’s electric truck volumes next year (Cybertruck Design Safer for Pedestrians Than F-150, Cybertruck sloped hood which deflects impact). Considering the F-150 Lightning incumbent advantage as an electrified bestseller, being outsold by a newcomer like Cybertruck signals issues.
Ford selling every Lightning possible would accelerate the industry’s transition away from gas vehicles. Scaling back output squanders an opportunity to convert more drivers to electric. Even with strong EV incentives, legacy automakers still struggle to deliver volumes matching demand.
While lower Lightning manufacturingindirectly benefits Tesla, mass adoption matters more. Each electric F-150 on roads represents progress towards sustainability targets. As an EV icon, curtailing Lightning production bodes worrying signs for incumbent ability to stimulate transition.
Can Ford Get Economics Right?
Part of Ford’s strategic about-face on Lightning production likely links to profitability challenges. Legacy auto has chronically struggled with rationalizing EV costs against combustion-powered models. As aspirational flagships, firms remain reluctant to sacrifice margins just to drive adoption.
Ford now faces the predicament of balancing Lightning volumes, pricing, and profits. Demand exists to sell every Lightning possible, but only if Ford subsidizes losses to match gas truck earnings. Until firms figure out economical scale production of mass-market EVs, output promises will keep fading.
The F-150 Lightning production cut signals cracks in Ford’s electrification ambitions. Despite proven interest, legacy financial realities continue clouding inventory promises. Until firms reconcile EV profits with demand, sales projections will continue slipping. Ford now must balance economic viability with its role accelerating electric vehicle adoption at scale.