In a recent video, YouTuber The Electric Viking reports that Ford Motor Company has initiated a significant workforce reduction at its F-150 Lightning electric vehicle (EV) plant, cutting nearly 70% of jobs. 

This controversial move comes amid rising concerns about the company’s commitment to its EV endeavors, as it simultaneously expands its internal combustion engine (ICE) production. Let’s delve into the details and explore the potential implications.

Rapid Downsizing of F-150 Lightning Production

Ford’s decision to eliminate two out of three production crews at its F-150 Lightning plant, affecting 1,400 workers, has raised eyebrows within the automotive industry. 

This downsizing reflects a strategic shift away from EVs, signaling the company’s intention to scale down production of the electric pickup, despite growing demand in the broader market.

Despite the F-150 Lightning being hailed as America’s bestselling EV pickup, Ford acknowledges losing money on each unit sold, estimating losses between $34,000 to $36,000 per vehicle. 

A critical factor contributing to these challenges is the charging infrastructure and charging speed concerns, which have impacted the electric pickup’s market appeal.

Contradictory Hiring Strategy

Simultaneously, Ford is making contradictory staffing decisions, hiring an additional 900 staff for its third shift dedicated to the Bronco and Ford Ranger production. 

Notably, neither the Bronco nor the Ford Ranger currently offer hybrid or electric options, raising questions about Ford’s overall commitment to transitioning towards sustainable mobility solutions.

The workforce reduction at the Rouge Electric Vehicle Center, where the F-150 Lightning is manufactured, will result in the redundancy of 1,400 workers. 

While Ford suggests that some may transfer to other plants, this move has raised concerns among suppliers who invested heavily in tooling and equipment to meet Ford’s initially ambitious EV production targets.

Challenges to EV Growth

Ford’s decision to cut EV production in half raises questions about the industry’s growth trajectory. 

The company cites a slowdown in EV demand, prompting a reassessment of production targets. However, skeptics question whether the issue lies more with the appeal of Ford’s EVs rather than an industry-wide decline in demand.

Beyond job cuts, Ford has delayed approximately $12 billion in EV investments and postponed the opening of a battery plant in Kentucky. The company attributes these delays to a reassessment of market conditions and a shift in its production strategy. 

However, critics argue that these moves could be indicative of deeper challenges within Ford’s EV division.

People in the comments are adding some extra context: “Many of the orders (including mine ) were cancelled because dealers are marking up the prices way over MSRP!”

Another commenter added: “The slow pace of EV production by the traditional OEMs means their demands for parts will be small. This means they will never establish cost effective supply chains. If EVs are the future, traditional OEMs are, without a doubt, doomed.”

Others are a bit more optimistic about Ford’s future in the EV realm: “Ford has to curtail losses on the present F150 Lightning until their next gen pure EV F150 is ready for production. The same for all their EVs I would say. Efficiencies have been identified on the path to profitability but will require new pure EV designs to accomplish that. The NACS charging will be a game changer in their popularity and acceptance.”

Postponed Investments and EV Plans

Ford’s recent decisions to cut EV jobs while ramping up ICE production have ignited discussions about the company’s commitment to sustainable mobility. 

As the automotive landscape evolves, Ford faces scrutiny for its strategic choices, leaving industry observers and consumers alike questioning the future of the iconic American automaker in the era of electric mobility.

What are your thoughts? How can Ford reconcile its contradictory hiring decisions, firing EV plant workers while expanding ICE production, in the context of the global push towards sustainable transportation?

Do you believe Ford’s challenges in the EV market are primarily due to broader industry trends, or could product-specific issues be contributing to its struggles? In light of Ford’s delays in EV investments and production targets, what role do you think government policies and incentives should play in encouraging a faster transition to electric vehicles?