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Ford Making Further Cuts at F-150 Lightning Plant

by | March 28, 2024

Slowing sales of its F-150 Lightning all-electric pickup has Ford cutting workers at the Detroit-area plant that builds the trucks. EV sales are on the rise, but that hasn’t translated to the lofty predictions made by the automaker.

Rouge Electric Vehicle Center

Ford is making another round of production cuts of the F-150 Lightning at its Rouge plant near Detroit.

The latest round of cuts are the second this year, after the Dearborn, Michigan-based automaker eliminated a shift due to less-than-expected sales. The moves come despite the fact that Lightning sales were up 55% last year, accounting for more than 24,000 vehicles.

Unfortunately, Ford was geared up for much bigger numbers and is now throttling back. The personnel cuts will begin next week.

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.

The numbers

Of the 2,100 workers who make up three work crews at the Dearborn facility, a third will remain, a Ford spokesperson told the Detroit Free Press. Ford will transfer 700 workers to the Michigan Assembly Plant in Wayne to build the Bronco and Ranger.

The Rouge plant was designed to be flexible and Ford it taking advantage of that as much as possible.

The remaining 700 workers will either take a retirement package offered during last year’s contract talks with the United Auto Workers, or will take a reassignment in southeast Michigan. Ford is adding a third crew at Michigan Assembly, the paper reported.

First round of cuts

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.

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.

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

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.


More Broncos and Rangers

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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