Ford is shifting its production strategy toward two gas vehicles, with the automaker this week reiterating plans to reduce production of its F-150 Lightning electric pickup.
Last month, Ford initially announced its plans to cut F-150 Lightning production by around half. In a press release shared on Friday, Ford has announced that 1,400 workers will be impacted by the decision, set to go into effect on April 1.
According to the release, around 700 of the workers at the Rouge Electric Vehicle Center, where the F-150 Lightning is produced, are now being transferred to the Michigan Assembly Plant to support the production of the gas-powered Bronco and Bronco Raptor, and the upcoming Ranger and Ranger Raptor.
The rest will be offered positions at the Rouge Complex in Dearborn or other Southeast Michigan Ford facilities, or they will be given the option to use the Special Retirement Incentive Program included in the UAW-Ford contract.
The automaker also says that a few dozen workers at component factories that currently support F-150 Lightning production could be impacted by the news, largely depending on how many employees apply for the retirement program. If that turns out to be the case, Ford says it would place impacted workers in Southeast Michigan facilities.
Ford will also hire 900 net new hires at the Michigan Assembly Plant, adding a third shift of as many as 1,600 workers to boost production to seven days a week, up from the current level of five days a week.
The automaker also says that it’s forecasting continued electric vehicle (EV) sales growth this year, though less so than it previously expected, even as it prepares to launch its next generation of EVs. In addition, Ford says it has the capacity to scale gas and hybrid F-150 units, as part of hopes to find the proper balance of powertrain configurations to meet consumer demand.
“We are taking advantage of our manufacturing flexibility to offer customers choices while balancing our growth and profitability,” said Jim Farley, Ford CEO and President. “Customers love the F-150 Lightning, America’s best-selling EV pickup. We see a bright future for electric vehicles for specific consumers, especially with our upcoming digitally advanced EVs and access to Tesla’s charging network beginning this quarter.”
“We will continue to match F-150 Lightning production with demand,” said a Ford spokesperson in an email to Teslarati about when the automaker planned to bring F-150 Lightning production back to current levels.
The news comes after Ford finished 2023 with its best-ever quarter for EVs while landing best-selling vehicles in two separate electric segments. Despite this, a report last month illuminated the fact that only around half of Ford dealers have signed up to participate in its “Model e” EV sales program, as concerns surrounding EV demand have been aired by several automakers in recent months.