Ford is shifting its production strategy toward two gasoline-powered vehicles, with the automaker this week reaffirming its plans to reduce production of its F-150 Lightning electric pickup truck.
Last month, Ford initially announced its plans to cut production of the F-150 Lightning by about half. In a press release issued Friday, Ford announced that 1,400 workers will be affected by the decision, which is set to take effect April 1.
According to the press release, approximately 700 of the workers at the Rouge Electric Vehicle Center, where the F-150 Lightning is produced, will now be transferred to the Michigan assembly plant to support production of the gas-powered Bronco and Bronco Raptor, the upcoming Ranger and Ranger Raptor.
The remainder will be offered jobs at the Rouge Complex in Dearborn or other Ford facilities in southeastern Michigan, or given the option to take advantage of the special retirement incentive program included in the UAW-Ford contract.
The automaker also says a few dozen workers at component factories currently supporting production of the F-150 Lightning could be affected by the news, largely depending on how many employees apply for the retirement program. If that turns out to be the case, Ford said the affected workers would be housed in facilities in southeast Michigan.
Additionally, Ford will add a net 900 new employees at its Michigan assembly plant and introduce a third shift of up to 1,600 workers to increase production from the current five days per week to seven days per week.
The automaker also says it forecasts continued electric vehicle (EV) sales growth this year, although less strong than previously expected, even as it prepares to launch its next generation of electric vehicles. Additionally, Ford says it has the capacity to scale gasoline and hybrid F-150 units to find the right balance of powertrain configurations to meet consumer demand.
“We are leveraging our manufacturing flexibility to provide our customers with choice while balancing our growth and profitability,” said Jim Farley, CEO and president of Ford. “Customers love the F-150 Lightning, America’s best-selling electric pickup. We see a bright future for electric vehicles for certain consumers, especially with our upcoming digitally advanced electric vehicles and access to Tesla’s charging network starting this quarter.”
At the time of writing, Ford has not responded to Teslarati's request for comment on when production of the F-150 Lightning is expected to return to current levels.
The news comes after Ford closed 2023 with its best quarter ever for electric vehicles, while also landing top-selling vehicles in two separate electric segments. Still, a report last month indicated that only about half of Ford dealers have signed up to participate in the Model e electric vehicle sales program, as concerns about electric vehicle demand have been raised by several automakers in recent months became.