Ford Motor Company has confirmed to media outlets that it has added a third F-150 Lightning production shift at its Rouge assembly plant near Detroit, Michigan. A total of 250 new jobs have been created as a result. Now there are a total of 750 employees in the factory. This will allow the automaker to reach full production capacity of 150,000 EV trucks by next fall.
Ford did this because demand for the F-150 Lightning continued to grow, and they didn’t want customers waiting longer than necessary for delivery. Ford confirmed the plant, which received a major investment last year, is currently running three rotating crews of workers in 10-hour shifts, seven days a week. Meanwhile the construction crew continues to work on the physical expansion of the factory.
Ford’s original plan was to build around 40,000 Lightnings annually at the new plant. However, the plan was changed to expand the existing truck factory in Dearborn. Then they realized production had to increase after initial demand exceeded all expectations. Until the end of last month, Ford has sold a total of 13,258 Lightning. Ford continues to be the US market leader for electric commercial vehicles, including the Lightning and another new battery-electric model, the E-Transit van.
This is not the first time Ford has decided to boost Lightning production. Last January, Ford confirmed plans to double production numbers as orders continued to arrive. Production officially began in April in what Ford CEO Jim Farley described as “Model T’s moment for the 21st century”.
To date, Ford has received more than 200 thousand orders for the electric truck, so production needs to be increased. However, not all reservations are guaranteed to convert to actual orders. It’s up to the dealer to make that happen. Ford has invested $950 million in the Rouge Electric Vehicle Center to ensure it can meet demand.
The Lightning is the first Ford vehicle to be built without a traditional conveyor line. Instead, there are Autonomous Guided Vehicles (AGV) to move unfinished trucks to various workstations. AGV enables greater throughput, and increases quality checks and product customization without installing systems such as overhead cranes, moving mats and floor chains.