Ford has begun preliminary pre-production of its electric F-150 Lightning pickup truck at a new plant in Dearborn, Michigan.
Michael Wayland | NBC Finance Channel
DETROIT-Ford Motor Co. said on Tuesday that it plans to nearly double the annual production capacity of its upcoming electric F-150 pickup truck to 150,000 vehicles per year by mid-2023, citing strong consumer demand.
This growth is a positive signal for F-150 Lightning and general electric vehicle demand, but it also shows that Ford has seriously underestimated the demand for trucks, causing it to now scramble to increase it. This is the second time Ford has stated that it plans to double the production of this car, which is scheduled to be launched in the spring. The initial production volume is set at approximately 40,000 units.
“The acceptance of this car is absolutely incredible,” Ford’s President of Americas and International Markets, Kumar Garhotra, said on CNBC’s “Squawk Box” program on Tuesday.
Ford’s stock price rose about 3% in premarket trading.
Ford’s production plan was formulated before the automaker began accepting car orders on Thursday. Before it stopped accepting bookings last month, the company received non-binding bookings for approximately 200,000 trucks.
At the time, Ford CEO Jim Farley told CNBC that the company was doubling the production capacity of the F-150 Lightning “at all costs.”
“We had to stop booking, we got so much,” Farley told CNBC’s Jim Cramer. “We stopped at 200,000. These are orders. Hard orders.”
Ford said it will implement a “wave-by-wave booking process,” requiring reservation holders to check Ford’s invitations via email or log in to their Ford.com account to place orders for their vehicles in the coming months.
Ford said this week is the final pre-construction stage before the transition to the mass production of the F-150 Lightning truck for retail customers and the F-150 Lightning Pro for commercial customers.
Ford’s production plan came the day before General Motors plans to release an electric version of its Chevrolet Silverado. Compared with the GMC Hummer EV, which recently started shipping to consumers, this pickup is expected to compete more directly with the F-150 Lightning. Silverado is not expected to go on sale until 2023.
The pricing of F-150 Lightning is very similar to traditional pickup trucks and has a wide range. The work-oriented truck version starts at $39,974. More consumer-centric models start at US$52,974, with a maximum price of approximately US$90,000.
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