Ford has started initial pre-production of its electric F-150 Lightning pickup truck at a new plant in Dearborn, Mich.
Michael Wayland | CNBC
DETROIT – Ford Motor on Tuesday said it plans to nearly double annual production capacity of its upcoming electric F-150 pickup to 150,000 vehicles per year by mid-2023, citing strong consumer demand.
The increase is a positive sign of demand for the F-150 Lightning as well as electric vehicles in general but also shows Ford significantly underestimated demand for the truck, causing it to now scramble to increase it. This is the second time Ford has said it plans to double production of the vehicle, which is due out in the spring. Initial production was set for about 40,000 units.
“The reception of this vehicle has been absolutely incredible,” Kumar Galhotra, Ford president of the Americas & international markets, said Tuesday during CNBC’s “Squawk Box.”
Shares of Ford were up by about 3% during pre-market trading.
Ford’s production plans come before the automaker starts taking orders for the vehicle on Thursday. The company received about 200,000 nonbinding reservations for the truck before it stopped taking the pre-orders last month.
At that time, Ford CEO Jim Farley told CNBC that the company was doing “whatever it takes” to double production capacity for the F-150 Lightning.
“We had to stop reservations, we got so many,” Farley told CNBC’s Jim Cramer. “We stopped at 200,000, and those are orders. Hard orders.”
Ford said it will be implementing a “wave-by-wave reservation process,” with reservation holders being asked to watch for an invitation via email from Ford or to log into their Ford.com account over the next few months to place an order for their vehicle.
This week is the final pre-build phase before transitioning into mass production of F-150 Lightning trucks for retail customers and F-150 Lightning Pro for commercial customers, Ford said.
Ford’s production plans come a day before General Motors is scheduled to reveal an electric version of its Chevrolet Silverado. The pickup is expected to compete more directly with the F-150 Lightning than its GMC Hummer EV, which recently started shipping to consumers. The Silverado isn’t expected to go on sale until 2023.
Pricing for the F-150 Lightning, much like the traditional pickup, has a wide range. A work-oriented version of the truck will start at $39,974. More consumer-centric models will start at $52,974 and top out at around $90,000.