Ford juices production of Lightning F-150 electric truck

Ford Motor Co on Tuesday will start regular manufacturing of its
F-150 Lightning electric pickup truck, more than tripling planned
annual production of the vehicle that now symbolizes the
118-year-old company’s drive to retool for a new century, Trend reports with reference
to Reuters.

Ford will mark the “Job One” ceremony for the Lightning with a
webcast set for Tuesday at 1:30 EDT (1730 GMT). The event marks the
sharp acceleration of the Lightning’s assembly system at Ford’s
Rouge Electric Vehicle Center in Dearborn, Michigan.

Ford aims to build 150,000 Lightning trucks a year at the new
part of its historic Rouge manufacturing complex while it builds a
much larger electric vehicle production complex in Tennessee.

It had planned to build just 40,000 annually, but surging demand
for electric vehicles prompted Ford to increase planned production
twice since last August of the Lightning, a heavily modified
version of its best-selling F-150 pickup truck.

About 200,000 customers made reservations for the Lightning
before Ford cut off taking preliminary orders in December.

The Lightning will hit showrooms behind startup Rivian’s
electric R1T pickup, but ahead of General Motors Co’s electric
Silverado, Stellantis NV’s promised electric Ram truck and Tesla
Inc’s Cybertruck, which has been delayed until next year at the
earliest.

Rivals GM and Ford are pursuing different strategies in the
electric pickup market. Ford re-engineered its current F-150 to
install batteries, a cargo-carrying front trunk and enough
electrical outlets to power a home or a construction site. It took
19 months to build an assembly line adjacent to the existing Rouge
F-series factory.

GM spent more time designing its electric Silverado from the
wheels up, gutted a factory in Detroit to build it and several
other electric vehicles, and built new factories to supply those
vehicles with GM-designed batteries. The Silverado is expected to
launch in the fall of 2023.

For Ford, it was critical to hit its target of starting regular
production of the F-150 Lightning this spring. The company has
contended in the past with late, poorly-executed launches,
including the botched launch of a redesigned Explorer sport utility
vehicle in 2019.

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