Ford Motor Co. is cutting 2024 production goals in half for its F-150 Lightning plug-in pickup truck—its signature electric vehicle—due to slowing demand for battery-powered models.
The automaker now intends to build 1,600 of the trucks a week next year at its plant in Dearborn, Michigan, down from a previous plan to manufacture 3,200 weekly, a company spokeswoman said. Ford has been informing suppliers of the production cuts on a model that CEO Officer Jim Farley once said was “a test for adoption for electric vehicles” in America.
The move comes as Ford scales back spending on electric vehicles by $12 billion and after it downsized by nearly half a battery factory its building in Michigan. Farley has said the robust EV demand the company expected hasn’t materialized because potential buyers are balking at high prices and spotty charging infrastructure.
EV sales growth in the U.S. will slow to 11% next year from an estimated 47% growth rate this year, according to a forecast by UBS Monday.
“U.S. needs greater affordability” and model availability, the brokerage said in a report to investors. Automakers “seem to continually face new, unforeseen challenges.”
Ford also is lowering production of its electric Mustang Mach-E in Mexico and put on hold plans for a second battery factory in Kentucky.
“We will continue to match production to customer demand,” Ford said in a statement.
The latest cuts come despite the Lightning having its best sales month ever in November with 4,393 deliveries. Lightning sales in the third quarter fell 46% as the automaker shut its factory for expansion and delayed delivery of the truck for “quality checks.”
EV market leader Tesla Inc. has started rolling out its highly anticipated Cybertruck, which takes aim at potential Lightning buyers.
Despite issues in the EV market, a slowdown in the shift to electric models could benefit manufacturers’ profits, UBS noted in the report.
Ford’s shares rose less than 1% Tuesday morning.
Automotive News earlier reported the Lightning production cut.