Ford halts production of the F-150 Lightning due to battery problems

Ford halts production of the F-150 Lightning due to battery problems

  • Finance
  • February 15, 2023
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Ford Motor said Tuesday it is pausing production of its popular F-150 Lightning because the electric pickup truck may have a battery problem.

“As part of our pre-delivery quality checks, one vehicle showed a potential battery issue and we are detaining vehicles while we investigate,” a Ford spokesman told CBS MoneyWatch on Tuesday. “We are not aware of any incidents of this problem in the field.”

The Michigan automaker began selling the F-150 Lightning last year. Company officials did not give a timeline for resuming production. The pause in production jeopardizes Ford’s plan to deliver 600,000 Lightnings in 2023.

The spokesman also didn’t say what the pause means for trucks already on dealer lots or in owners’ driveways.

Since their launch last May, Ford has sold 15,617 electric trucks, according to the latest company data available. The company sold 2,436 of these in October, the most ever sold in a month.

Increasing demand for electric vehicles

Ford is betting heavily on the F-150 Lightning, investing millions of dollars in a new facility for a vehicle that has already won 2023 MotorTrend Truck of the Year.

When company officials first announced the 2021 truck, demand quickly grew as the pre-order list surpassed 100,000 in three weeks. Workers build the vehicle at a new plant in Dearborn, Michigan.

Ford’s hiatus comes as interest and demand for electric vehicles continues to rise in the US. A poll by Motor Club AAA found that about a quarter of Americans say they want an electric vehicle next time they buy a car. Research from Recurrent, an automotive industry analytics firm, found that interest in buying an electric vehicle has increased by 70% since last January.

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Ford increased the price of the F-150 Lightning in October to offset rising manufacturing costs. Other automakers also increased the cost of their EV lines — including Rivian, GM, and Tesla — amid rising metal prices and higher costs for components like lithium, which is used to make batteries.

Ford earlier this month reported profit of $1.3 billion for the fourth quarter of 2022, down about 89% from the prior-year period. CEO Jim Farley said in an earnings call this month that he was frustrated with 2022’s performance “because the year could have been so much more for us at Ford.”

Ford’s stock price fell nearly 1% Tuesday to about $13 a share.

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Christopher J Brooks

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