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Ford Cuts Lightning Production, Adds Bronco and Ranger Jobs

by | January 19, 2024

Ford plans to further roll back production on its F-150 Lightning electric pickup to keep it in line with demand. On the flip side, it plans to add 1,600 workers to the Michigan plant that builds Broncos, Rangers and the Raptor variant of each, including 900 all-new jobs.

Ford F-150 Lightning - on assembly line

Ford will eliminate one of two shifts at the plant building its F-150 Lightning. Cutting production to just 1,600 units a week.

The automaker’s cut production twice already, last October and December, each time to make production match current demand levels. However, the Rouge Manufacturing Center where the truck is built was designed to be flexible.

“We are taking advantage of our manufacturing flexibility to offer customers choices while balancing our growth and profitability. Customers love the F-150 Lightning, America’s best-selling EV pickup,” said Ford President and CEO Jim Farley in a statement.

“We see a bright future for electric vehicles for specific consumers, especially with our upcoming digitally advanced EVs and access to Tesla’s charging network beginning this quarter.”

The company notes the Lightning is the bestselling electric pickup in the U.S. and sales were up 55% in 2023. Ford officials say they expect the numbers grow again in 2024. However, since demand is currently lighter than expected, it’s time to take advantage of the Rouge plant’s flexibility.

Previous changes

2022 Ford F-150 Lightning - muddy on trail

Demand for the Lightning is down, so Ford is shifting some workers to a different plant.

In October, the site moved to a two-shift, three-crew pattern, with one crew of workers on rotating layoffs. In December, Ford made plans to cut Lightning production from 3,200 units a week to 1,600 for the first part of 2024.

This keeps them on track for the amended expectations of selling more than last year, which totaled nearly 24,200 pickups. The company sold 72,608 electric vehicles overall in 2023.

Even at the new line rate, Ford would produce more than 70,000 of the electric pickups annually, nearly triple the original planned capacity for the Rouge factory. If Ford repeated its 2023 sales increase for Lightnings in 2024, it would sell about 37,500 Lightnings. The company’s projections hoped to boost potential output to around 150,000 starting in 2024.

More F-150 Lightning stories

More Broncos and Rangers

2024 Ford Ranger front 3-4 REL

Ford is preparing for an expected uptick in demand for the new Ranger midsize pickup.

The new Ranger and Ranger Raptor are tracking to begin production later this year while Bronco and Bronco Raptor demand is strong, so the company is shuffling some employees around while adding 900 new jobs to its Michigan Assembly Plant in Wayne, Michigan, west of Detroit.

The Rouge Electric Vehicle Center will transition to one shift effective April 1. Of the 1,400 workers there, about 700 will transfer to Michigan Assembly Plant and the others will be placed in roles at the Rouge Complex or other facilities in Southeast Michigan or take advantage of the Special Retirement Incentive Program agreed to in the 2023 Ford-UAW contract, the company said.

The Rouge employees can also staff up to meet demand for more F-150 trucks whether they’re gas-powered, hybrids or all-electric officials noted. Additionally, the company “continues to balance production to meet customer demand for its broad portfolio of trucks, utility vehicles and cars with a mix of gas, hybrid and electric powertrains.”


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