Ford drastically cutting the workforce at its F-150 Lightning EV plant

Starting April 1, one-third of the workforce will remain on-site at Ford’s Rouge EV plant in Michigan. Ford is drastically cutting its workforce at the facility where the F-150 Lightning is built, with demand “much slower” than expected.

Ford cutting F-150 Lightning workforce

Ford initially announced the reduction in January, citing “slower than expected” demand. Although Ford’s Lightning was the best-selling electric pickup last year, topping Rivian’s R1T, the EV truck faces new competition in a challenging market.

According to Ford spokeswoman Jessica Enoch, one-third of the 2,100 workers will remain at the plant starting April 1, 2024.

Enoch told The Detroit Free Press that 700 workers will be transferred to its Michigan Assembly plant to help build the Bronco and Ranger. Meanwhile, the remaining 700 can either take the $50,000 retirement package from the 2023 contract negotiations, or be reassigned to is Michigan Assembly plant.

Ford’s workforce reduction at the F-150 Lightning plant will not include job losses. Instead, workers are being reassigned or offered retirement.

In January, Spokesperson Martin Gunsberg told Electrek that the facility had been running with three crews working two shifts. Starting next week, it will go down to one crew working one shift.

Ford F-150 Lightning production (Source: Ford)

“Their intentions were to build 180,000-plus units. Right now, we’re looking at 55,000 units they’re gonna build,” according to Todd Dunn, president of UAW Local 862.

The move comes after Ford said it would ramp up Lightning production just a year ago. However, the automaker has been rotating shifts at the facility since October.

Enoch said new vehicles have been held for quality review since early February. Shipments are expected to begin in April.

Ford introduced significant incentives on the 2023 F-150 Lightning to make room for new models. The 2023 Lightning Lariat, XLT, and Pro trims are eligible for a $7,500 retail credit.

2024 Ford F-150 Lightning trim
Price Range
(EPA-est miles)
Pro $54,995 240
XLT $64,995 240
Flash $73,495 320
Lariat $79,495 320
Platinum $84,995 300
Platinum Black $92,995 300
2024 Ford F-150 Lightning price and range by trim

Ford also made several adjustments to 2024MY Lightning prices. The base Pro trim, starts at $54,995 with 240 miles range. The lineup also gained a “Flash” trim in 2024 with a tech-focused interior, Ford’s Tow Tech package, and up to 320 miles range. It starts at $73,495.

2024 Ford F-150 Flash (Source: Ford)

Electrek’s Take

The workforce reduction comes as Ford shifts plans from larger EVs to smaller, more affordable ones.

CEO Jim Farley revealed Ford was developing a low-cost EV platform. Led by Alan Clarke, a top engineer for Tesla’s Model Y and 3, Farley said it has “some of the best EV engineers in the world” developing the platform.

Ford’s CFO, John Lawler, reiterated these plans at the BofA Auto Summit Tuesday. Lawler said, “The game will not be fought and won with larger vehicles.” Smaller, more affordable ones will win in the long run.

The new EV platform will have multiple “top hats,” enabling new electric SUVs, trucks, sedans, and vans.

According to Bloomberg Businessweek, a smaller, cheaper electric pickup and SUV will be the first to launch on the platform. The first model is expected to be available in 2026, with starting prices around $25,000.

Lawler said the ultimate competition will be low-cost EVs from China, like BYD, and Tesla, which is planning a $25,000 EV of its own.

Ford’s CFO said Ford is matching capacity with demand. He added “demand is much slower than the industry expected.”

Meanwhile, Ford faces stiff competition in both the electric pickup and mid-size electric SUV market. New electric pickups like the Tesla Cybertruck and Chevy Silverado EV are rolling out while Rivian continues building R1T capacity.

Ford’s Mustang Mach-E is among the most popular EV segments, along with Tesla’s Model Y, the Hyundai IONIQ 5, the Volkswagen ID.4, and the Kia EV6. New electric SUVs like the Honda Prologue and Acura ZDX are joining the market.

Have you been eyeing Ford’s all-electric models? Now may be the perfect time to start shopping with significant savings. You can use our links below to find great deals on Ford’s EVs at a dealer near you.

FTC: We use income earning auto affiliate links. More.