Ford says it will continue prioritizing fleet and commercial customers.
The Ford F-150 Lightning is in production and should be heading to the first customers' driveways soon. As the automaker ramps up efforts to meet the tremendous demand for the truck, it's taking a notably different approach to sales than other automakers. Where General Motors and others opt to sell the most expensive models first to generate interest and maximize profits, Ford says that one in five new F-150 Lightning models that roll off the line is the cheapest model. There's no shortage of demand for more expensive EVs, so it will be interesting to see how the automaker's novel approach pans out.
The F-150 Lightning Pro is a stripped-down truck aimed at commercial buyers and fleets. The $39,974 price tag is far less expensive than the cheapest "civilian" Lightning, and Ford will continue building them at the current rate. Ford VP of electric vehicle programs, Darren Palmer, told Automotive News that the automaker is committed to building a mix of affordable and pricier models. "Even though we could sell more vehicles, more expensive, it's not about the short-term profit," he told the publication. "We launched with them right at the beginning and we're giving them 20 percent all through."
In the three weeks since Ford launched production, it has built around 2,800 Lightning pickups. Palmer did not clarify how many of the more than 200,000 reservations have converted to orders, nor did he elaborate on the split between other trims, but he did note that many people are opting for the Lariat trim. At $67,474, the Lariat is the mid-range non-commercial trim level between the $52,974 XLT and the $90,874 Platinum. Dealers have already been warned against markups and selling demo units, so we're unlikely to see huge numbers of flippers - at least not from franchised Ford dealers.
The thought process here is interesting because it shows that Ford is taking a completely different approach to selling EVs than the ones its rivals have chosen. General Motors recently began delivering the new GMC Hummer EV but decided to start with the most expensive First Edition model, which has a starting price of more than $110,000. Rivian did the same, though its vehicles are all expensive, so there's less of a contrast between the top- and bottom-end models.
Even if Ford's able to crank out F-150 Lightning Pro models rapidly, there are so many reservations that it'll take a while to work through them all. The Blue Oval said it collected more than 200,000 reservations, and while there will be plenty that don't convert to actual orders, the number will still be more than Ford can build in year one.
Ford has a good problem on its hands in that it has more demand for the new electric truck than it can currently meet. The automaker has already doubled production of the truck and says that it expects to reach 150,000 annual units by next year. Still, the ongoing chip shortage could complicate things. However, Palmer noted that Ford would prioritize the Lightning, saying that the primary deficits are chips that power everyday functions like windshield wipers and stereo systems, not the advanced chips needed for EVs.
Join The Discussion