One in five Ford F-150 Lightning electric trucks produced at the Rouge Electric Vehicle Center in Dearborn, Michigan, is an entry-level Pro trim targeting commercial buyers.

Automakers typically begin production of new vehicles with only the most expensive variants to maximize margins, but Ford is taking a different approach. The carmaker is launching F-150 Lightning production with the $40,000 Pro variant instead of top-of-the-line models that have starting MSRPs as high as $90,000. 

Darren Palmer, Ford's vice president of electric vehicle programs, told Automotive News that the carmaker already is building plenty of base models aimed at carpenters, plumbers and other business owners. 

"Fleets we will look after; they are the core of our business. Even though we could sell more vehicles, more expensive, it's not about the short-term profit. We launched with them right at the beginning and we're giving them 20 percent all through."

This is in contrast with GMC's decision to launch the Hummer EV with the $112,595 First Edition and with Rivian's upscale R1T pickup, which starts at $67,500 in its most basic form with delivery in 2024.

Since the F-150 Lightning entered production on April 26, Ford has built roughly 2,800 units, Palmer said at a media event for the Lightning. This means that approximately 560 of them are Pro models. With regard to the retail side, he said the Lariat trim gets a "really high mix" of orders; the Lariat starts at $69,269 including shipping.

Palmer did not say how many reservations have translated into firm orders, noting that Ford is dealing with the 200,000+ reservations in waves.

"We've done about three or four waves now, and that was the end of the 2022 model year. We saw a really, really high conversion. At the moment it would be meaningless if I said the number because it wouldn't include those who held on [for the 2023 model year]. But it's pretty good."

Ford would not say how many F-150 Lightnings it expects to make this year either, but it expects to reach an annual run rate of 150,000 in 2023.

As for the global semiconductor shortage, Palmer admitted that Ford continues to face production setbacks, but noted the Lightning would be prioritized. 

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