Ford Motor Company announced on December 13 it added a third shift at its Rouge plant in Dearborn, Michigan, citing “huge” demand for the F-150 Lightning electric pickup truck.
The automaker said it added 250 jobs in November at the Rouge Electric Vehicle Center to man the third shift, bumping the electric truck plant's employment from 500 to 750 people. The move comes as the company targets an annual production of 150,000 F-150 Lightning pickups by the fall of 2023.
During a tour of the facility, Corey Williams, plant manager of the Dearborn Truck Plant and Rouge Electric Vehicle Center, said Ford is on track to hit that previously announced production milestone, according to CNBC.
He added the plant is now running three rotating crews of workers on 10-hour shifts seven days a week to maintain a high level of production even as construction work is still underway to complete an expansion of the facility. "That's how we're doing this fast. We're building product while building" out the factory, Williams told CNBC.
Gallery: Ford Rouge Electric Vehicle Center
Ford originally planned to build about 40,000 Lightnings per year in a new facility next to its longtime pickup factory in Detroit, but it decided to expand the plant to boost production after initial demand for the electric pickup exceeded its expectations.
Reuters reports that Ted Cannis, the CEO of Ford Pro—the company's commercial vehicle business—told reporters the Rouge Electric Vehicle Center was seeing "huge demand" for F-150 Lightning trucks.
The executive added that EV subsidies available under the US Inflation Reduction Act could create even more demand for Ford electric trucks and vans. For now, however, many businesses and fleet management companies are still unsure if they qualify for the new subsidies, Cannis said.
Ford is the US market share leader for commercial vehicles, which include the F-150 Lightning Pro pickup and E-Transit van. From May when production of the F-150 Lightning began through November, Ford has sold 13,258 electric trucks.
Ford has raised F-150 Lightning prices twice since production started in May. The base 2023 F-150 Lightning Pro is currently priced from $53,769 (including a $1,795 shipping fee), compared to $39,974 (including shipping) at the start of sales. The company aims to increase Ford Pro's annual revenue to $45 billion by 2025, up 67 percent from 2019.