Ford has confirmed it has cut a work shift at its plant where the flagship F-150 Lightning electric pickup is produced, amid declining demand in the US.
“We are adjusting the schedule at the Rouge Electric Vehicle Center because of multiple constraints, including the supply chain and working through processing and delivering vehicles held for quality checks after restarting production in August,” said Ford in a statement supplied to media, including Yahoo Finance.
The Blue Oval has confirmed 700 jobs would be affected by the shift cut, and that this isn’t related to the ongoing United Auto Workers (UAW) strikes at other factories.
“It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that our sales for the Lightning have tanked,” said the UAW leader, as reported by The Wall Street Journal.
Ford began producing the F-150 Lightning at its Rouge Electric Vehicle Centre facility in April 2022 after around 200,000 orders were taken.
The company has increased the production target at the facility twice, to an annual production rate of 150,000 vehicles.
Production of the F-150 Lightning has been paused a number of times, with the most recent being due to a battery issue that was eventually traced back to being “rare occurrence” and not a design flaw.
The Blue Oval also recently imposed price cuts of up to US$10,000 (A$15,780) for the F-150 Lightning in the US.
A US$7500 (A$11,835) federal tax credit remains available on the Lariat and Platinum trims.
Ford reported in the third quarter of this year sales for the F-150 Lightning fell 46 per cent year-on-year to 3503 examples. The Blue Oval has said, however, it expects sales for the flagship electric pickup to increase in the fourth quarter of this year.
For now it’s unclear if this temporary reduction in F-150 Lightning production will affect the timeliness or likelihood of it coming to Australia.
Customer deliveries of the locally remanufactured combustion-powered F-150 are set to commence in November, though the two trim levels are only available with the 3.5-litre EcoBoost twin-turbo V6 petrol engine.
Ford Australia has previously said it’s aware of the F-150 Lightning, as well as the F-150 Hybrid, V8, and Raptor options. It hasn’t ruled out bringing them Down Under, but only once the remanufacturing process is established and demand for the EcoBoost has been proven.
MORE: Everything Ford F-150