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The electric F-150 is such a smash hit, Ford’s ramping up production again — and its scale shows why it’s not sweating the startups

F-150 Lightning at Ford's Dearborn assembly factoryF-150 Lightning at Ford’s Dearborn assembly factory.

Nora Naughton

  • Ford added a third shift at the F-150 Lightning factory last month.
  • It now plans to build 150,000 Lightnings annually at the EV factory.
  • Startup production goals lag far behind legacy competitors like Ford.

Ford’s F-150 Lightning factory in suburban Detroit is now operating on three shifts, ramping up to full capacity as the carmaker rushes to meet demand for the all-electric pickup just named Motor Trend’s Truck of the Year.

Ford is adding this new production shift at the same time it completes two large additions to the factory to increase square-footage by some 300,000 square feet, plant manager Corey Williams told reporters at the factory Tuesday morning. The third shift started work late last month, he said.

The ultimate goal is for Ford to build 150,000 F-150 Lightnings a year at the Dearborn, Michigan factory, double the company’s initial production target. Ford set into motion plans to increase its Lightning build capacity after it had to cap reservations at 200,000 late last year. Through November, Ford had sold 13,258 F-150 Lightning trucks.

More than a sign of the truck’s popularity, this lofty production goal highlights legacy automakers’ advantage over newcomers like Rivian and Lucid when it comes to scaling up. While companies like Ford and GM leverage existing manufacturing footprints and a century’s worth of experience building vehicles, startups are struggling with the tricky task of mass-producing vehicles for the first time.

Rivian had built 14,317 of its electric pickup trucks, SUVs, and delivery vans through the end of the third quarter, and is targeting annual production around 25,000 vehicles. Lucid reported it had built 3,687 vehicles in the first nine months of 2022, and is aiming for between 6,000 and 7,000 vehicles for the year.

Ford’s global EV sales target for 2023 is 600,000 vehicles, and CEO Jim Farley has said he wants his company to overtake Tesla as the number one seller of electrics in the US. The expansions at Ford’s Rouge Electric Vehicle Center are just part of a $30 billion shift toward electric vehicles. Earlier this year, Ford restructured its business to place more focus on its electric division, now called Ford Model e. 

Read the original article on Business Insider