800 workers are being transferred from one plant to another and 300 more will be hired because people want Lightnings.
Ford has confirmed plans to transfer 800 factory employees from its Dearborn Truck Plant to the nearby Rouge Electric Vehicle Center in the coming months in order to build more F-150 Lightning pickup trucks. Per the Detroit Free Press, demand for the all-electric truck remains high so the Blue Oval has decided it needs the extra manpower in addition to the 300 new hourly employees that'll soon be hired for the Rouge facility. The era of the BEV truck is in full swing.
"With the new staffing plan, Ford will have about 1,800 employees building the F-150 Lightning on three crews. At the same time, we'll build gas-powered F-150s with 2,600 employees on two shifts at Dearborn Truck Plant and 2,800 people on three crews at the Kansas City Assembly Plant," a Ford spokesperson said. "This will give Ford maximum overall production and flexibility to meet high demand for America's best-selling truck, gas and electric."
Last month, Ford announced plans to increase production output for several of its vehicles, including the Lightning. The goal is to build 150,000 units annually beginning this fall. But before that happens, the Rouge plant will be shut down for six weeks this summer as part of a general expansion.
This comes at a time when it appears Ford has fixed some early build quality Lightning issues, specifically with the battery. Ford restarted production early last month following a roughly one-month halt due to battery fire concerns. The battery supplier, SK On, had to work overtime to find and resolve the problem.
With production now back into gear, Ford will have everything in place once the Lightning factory expansion is completed.
Could this be the start of a trend where F-150 factory workers are re-assigned to the Lightning? The ICE F-150 remains the best-selling vehicle in America but Ford has been very aggressive with its electrification plans and Lightning demand is proof buyers are ready for change. Expanding Michigan's Rouge Electric Vehicle Center is not only critical for the current Lightning but also its successor.
Past reports indicate that an all-new Lightning is due for 2025, perhaps 2026, meaning the current generation will have a relatively short lifespan. That successor will reportedly ride on an all-new, battery-electric vehicle-only architecture that's also expected to underpin the upcoming Explorer BEV.
This does not mean the ICE F-150 is leaving the scene anytime soon but Ford also previously confirmed it's studying how it can boost F-150 Hybrid production as demand continues to increase.
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