Ford to double F-150 Lightning production; orders open Thursday

Breana Noble
The Detroit News

Ford Motor Co. will double annual production of the F-150 Lightning in Dearborn once again, the automaker said Tuesday ahead of the first group of reservation holders being invited to begin placing orders for the electric pickup truck Thursday.

Increasing production will bring the output to 150,000 vehicles per year at the Rouge Electric Vehicle Center in the Blue Oval's hometown after deliveries begin in the spring. The announcement comes as the company has received nearly 200,000 reservations for the first electric version of America's most popular vehicle and as General Motors Co. is set to reveal virtually its all-electric Chevrolet Silverado on Wednesday at the CES trade show in Las Vegas.

Ford Motor Co. on Tuesday said it will double its annual production capacity of the Ford F-150 Lightning electric pickup truck. The automaker will start accepting orders on Thursday.

Ford stock closed at $24.31 per share Tuesday, up 11.67%.

"Our teams are working hard and creatively to break production constraints in order to get more F-150 Lightning trucks into the hands of our customers,” Kumar Galhotra, Ford's president of the Americas and international markets group, said in a statement. “The reality is clear: People are ready for an all-electric F-150, and Ford is pulling out all the stops to scale our operations and increase production capacity.”

Because of the demand, Ford is implementing a wave-by-wave process for customers with reservations to order the 2022 Ford F-150 Lightning. They will receive an email invitation to order, or they can check their account. Those who don't get to order the '22 vehicle will be able to order for future model years. Ford says more than 75% of customers with a Lightning reservation don't already own a Ford vehicle.

An F-150 Lightning configutator on Ford's website lists four trims with these base prices: Pro, $39,974; XLT, $52,974; Lariat, $67,474; and Platinum, $90,874.

Boosting production of the truck has been a matter of increasing capacity to build electric vehicle parts, including battery cells, battery trays and electric drive systems with suppliers and at Ford's own Rawsonville Components Plant and Van Dyke Electric Powertrain Center, the automaker said. A task force of employees from manufacturing, purchasing, strategy, product development and capacity planning is working on how to expand the number of vehicles that can be built.

This effort comes after Ford in September said it would invest an additional $250 million and add 450 jobs across all three facilities to increase production to 80,000 vehicles per year. The creation of the electric vehicle center was a part of an initial $700 million investment in the Rouge complex that created 300 jobs.

“The pride and quality UAW members are putting into building the iconic Ford F-150 Lightning is evident in the high pre-production demand for the new F-150 Lightning Electric vehicle,” Chuck Browning, vice president of the United Auto Workers and director of the union's Ford department, said in a statement. “UAW members are leading the way in doubling the amount of vehicles Ford is producing for this game-changing model of our legendary union-built vehicle.”

Deliveries of the Ford F-150 Lightning are to begin this spring.

Ford has entered the final pre-build phase for the Lightning prior to mass production for retail and the launch of the Lightning Pro for commercial customers, whose deliveries will start this spring. The company will use the pre-build trucks for testing more than 1 million collective miles in real-world uses.

The increased capacity will help Ford to achieve a global EV capacity of 600,000 vehicles within the next two years. The E-Transit electric commercial van also will go on sale this spring. The automaker is investing $30 billion in EVs through 2025 and expects to be the country's No. 2 EV seller before 2024.

Twitter: @BreanaCNoble