Ford has resumed F-150 Lightning production at its Rouge Electric Vehicle Center (REVC) in Dearborn, Michigan after a six-week shutdown.
The plant was temporarily offline as Ford worked to expand and retool the facility in order to triple its manufacturing capacity. By this fall, the automaker will have ability to produce the F-150 Lightning at an annualized rate of 150,000 units.
While the temporary shutdown of the Rouge EV Center limited customer deliveries this summer, Ford says the facility is now ready to accelerate the ramp-up process to unlock supply and help meet demand for its electric truck.
The facility is on track to build more than 70,000 F-150 Lightning trucks in calendar year 2023 with production for US customers expected to ramp in the fall.
"We are all looking forward to getting these F-150 Lightning trucks into the hands of our customers – from the U.S. to Norway. This milestone is the result of a lot of hard work and collaboration."
Debbie Manzano, director of manufacturing, Ford Motor Company
Besides increasing production capacity, the new tooling is also said to support Ford's drive for high quality. That's because the Rouge Electric Vehicle Center now utilizes equipment to automatically measure and validate exterior body fit for margin and flushness precision. It's the first time a Ford North American plant has used such tools.
In addition, a third station was added to validate wheel alignment and headlamp aim for driver assist technology. Ford says that training for 1,200 additional manufacturing employees will continue for three weeks, with incoming operators shadowing experienced employees in a buddy system for rapid onboarding.
To match the scale of F-150 Lightning assembly at the main plant, Ford is also ramping up production of battery packs at the Rawsonville Components Plant and EV power units at the Van Dyke Electric Powertrain Center in Michigan.
The production capacity increase at REVC leads to shorter order-to-delivery times for customers. Ford is focusing on building high-demand trim levels like XLT, which makes up over 50 percent of new orders.
Furthermore, the F-150 Lightning Pro is now available again for retail customers in limited quantities, with the units allocated for loyal reservation holders who have been waiting to order since launch.
Finally, Ford says the increased production capacity also opens up the opportunity to broaden the number of trim levels offered across the lineup, something customers have been asking for since the reveal.
"We have learned a lot from our first - ever EV truck customers, including a preference for technology and visual differentiation. We continue to refine the F-150 Lightning lineup to make the jump to an EV truck an easy choice for customers."
Marin Gjaja, chief customer officer, Ford Model e