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Ford Cuts Back On EV Production Again While Ramping Up ICE Production

Legacy automaker Ford is again cutting down its electric vehicle (EV) production while increasing its internal combustion engine (ICE) manufacturing output.

It’s A Response To Declining Market Demand

As a report from Autoweek states, the carmaker known for their Blue Oval emblem and best-selling F-150 pickup truck has announced plans to slow down production on the electrified version of America’s favorite truck. The announcement comes as a move to match consumer demand. Interestingly, EV sales were up in 2023; however, electric car companies like Chinese automaker BYD or Tesla had impressive sales numbers, selling approximately 1.6 and 1.8 million EVs in 2023.

The Ford Motor Company, on the other hand, announced that they lost a whopping $1.3 billion producing EVs in the second quarter of last year and stated in October that they would be scaling back production. Ford estimated at that time that they would lose around $4.5 billion on EV production by the end of 2023.

They cited the shrinking demand for EVs as their reason to reflect their efforts on more profitable production avenues, like ICEs (in this case, the Bronco and Ranger.) In December, roughly 4,000 American car dealerships asked President Biden to halt EPA-mandated fuel-economy regulations to promote EV sales because there are now so many EVs “stacking up” on dealership lots. So, while 2023 may have been a good EV sales year for some automakers, most car companies and dealerships will fare better selling ICE vehicles.

Ford’s Plan

Like fellow American automotive icon and rival Chevy, Ford is cutting down the labor and resources they will give towards EV production. Starting on April 1, Ford will have one shift dedicated to producing the F-150 Lightning at their Rouge Electric Vehicle Center in Michigan. As Autoweek’s report points out, Ford had previously claimed that they wanted to produce around 3,200 Lightning trucks a week; they will now only be able to produce around half that amount due to cutting back production shifts. Last summer, Ford had three shifts dedicated to F-150 Lightning production. They cut one of those shifts back in October.

While Ford did see better F-150 Lightning sales in 2023 than in 2022 (a 55 percent increase, according to Autoweek), the total number of Lightnings sold (around 24,000) only accounted for a fraction (about 3 percent) of the company’s F-Series truck sales.

Ford Is Betting On ICEs

According to Autoweek, Ford CEO Jim Farley, in so many words, said that the company is going to focus more of its resources on ICE production, “We are taking advantage of our manufacturing flexibility to offer our customers choices while balancing our growth and profitability.”

Their report even states that Ford plans to create around 900 new jobs for ICE production this year. All of which will focus on increasing Bronco and Ranger production. Ford will use these 900 new hires to add a third assembly crew at the Wayne Assembly Plant. It’s a move that will see three crews spread over two shifts and go from producing vehicles there five to seven days a week. Ford recently retooled their Wayne plant to prepare for launching an all-new Ranger that will debut later this year.

Author: Jarret Hendrickson

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