A little over a month ago, Ford informed suppliers that it plans on producing around 1,600 Ford F-150 Lightnings per week at its Dearborn, Michigan assembly plant. This news came when General Motors and even Volkswagen announced significant cutbacks to their electric vehicle production. Now, Ford has undertaken this change, slowing F-150 Lightning production down to just one production shift from the two it had last year. Unfortunately, this will impact 1,400 employees when the reduction takes effect on April 1, but it will open up new opportunities for producing the Ford Bronco and Ranger.
Electric F-150 Low On Juice, ICE Bronco And Ranger Hit The Gas
According to CNBC, roughly half of the affected employees will transfer to the Michigan Assembly Plant that produces the Bronco and Ranger. Others will transfer to nearby plants or are expected to participate in a “Special Retirement Incentive Program” agreed to in the 2023 Ford-United Auto Workers contract. The Michigan Assembly Plant will add a third shift this summer to increase the Bronco and Ranger production, which should add around 900 jobs. This is an excellent move considering the high demand for the Ford Bronco and the likely high demand the 2024 Ford Ranger will also have.
Regarding sales, the Ford Bronco and Ranger were down 9.7% and 43.3% last year, respectively. That may have been partly due to the six-week UAW labor strike that transpired. But for the Ford Ranger, sales likely decreased due to many customers deciding to wait for the next-generation Ford Ranger’s release this year. Which feels delayed, but it’s not. Ford said all the way back in May of 2023 that its new midsized truck will launch in the USA by Q1, 2024.
Sales of the Ford F-150 Lightning were up 55% to more than 24,000 pickups, though the company hasn’t been selling the electric trucks nearly as quickly as they previously were. While Ford expects “further growth” in truck sales this year, it likely won’t be enough to account for the 150,000 F-150 Lightning production rate the plant was upfitted for last year.