Ford’s Lightning production woes may have hit another hurdle. The automaker revealed plans Friday to temporarily trim one of three shifts at its Rouge EV plant in Michigan, where the F-150 Lightning is built.
Ford said the move would occur on Monday, affecting around 700 jobs. The American automaker claimed the cuts were unrelated to the UAW strike.
The move comes two days after United Auto Workers (UAW) union workers walked off the job at its largest plant in Kentucky in a strike amid contract bargaining.
According to a new report from Reuters, Ford said multiple constraints, including supply chain issues, were behind the cuts. It did not say how long the production cut will last but noted it will rotate the shift being trimmed.
Ford claimed to be “working through processing and delivering vehicles held for quality checks after restarting production in August.”
The Wall Street Journal reported earlier on Friday that a UAW official said Ford was considering cutting a shift at its Lightning plant due to lagging demand.
The union leader wrote in a memo earlier this week, “It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that our sales for the Lightning have tanked.”
Ford production woes worsen at Lightning EV plant
Ford’s job cuts come after F-150 Lightning sales fell 46% in the third quarter compared to last year. The automaker sold 3,503 electric trucks compared to 6,464 in the same period last year and 4,466 in Q2.
Ford told Electrek in September that “F-150 Lightning production is starting to ramp after a six-week shutdown to expand the Rouge Electric Vehicle Center with limited deliveries across July and August.”
The automaker added a third shift last December as it worked to hit its target of building 150,000 electric trucks.
Ford’s CEO Jim Farley said in July, “The near-term pace of EV adoption will be a little slower than expected,” pushing back its 600,000 EV production goal until next year.
Earlier this week, Ford introduced a new incentive with up to $7,500 in savings for buying or leasing a Lightning model (it can also be combined with the EV tax credit for up to $15,000 off).
Ford also added a new “Flash” trim for the 2024 lineup that pulls features from the XLT and Lariat models into one. The F-150 Lightning Flash features up to 320 miles of range, a tech-focused interior, and a heat pump, starting at $70,000.