- Ford on Tuesday said it plans to nearly double annual production capacity of its upcoming electric F-150 pickup to 150,000 vehicles per year at a plant in Michigan.
- The company cited strong consumer demand for the pickup as the main reason for the plans to increase output.
- Ford's production plans come ahead of the automaker beginning to take actual orders for the vehicle on Thursday.
DETROIT – Ford Motor on Tuesday said it plans to nearly double annual production capacity of its upcoming electric F-150 pickup to 150,000 vehicles per year by mid-2023, citing strong consumer demand.
The increase is a positive sign of demand for the F-150 Lightning as well as electric vehicles in general but also shows Ford significantly underestimated demand for the truck, causing it to now scramble to boost manufacturing of it. This is the second time Ford has said it plans to double production of the vehicle, which is due out in the spring. Initial output was set for about 40,000 units.
"The reception of this vehicle has been absolutely incredible," Kumar Galhotra, Ford president of the Americas & international markets, said Tuesday on CNBC's "Squawk Box."
Ford's stock reached a new 52-week high day of $24.56 a share Tuesday before closing at $24.31, up by 11.7%. It was the stock's highest daily percentage increase since June 2020, according to FactSet.
BofA Securities analyst John Murphy increased the price target for Ford Tuesday to $26 a share, up from $22, citing the automaker's production increase. In a note to investors, he called it "an encouraging proof point" in the company's previously announced Ford+ turnaround strategy.
Ford's production plans come before the automaker starts taking orders for the vehicle on Thursday. The company received about 200,000 nonbinding reservations for the truck before it stopped taking the preorders last month.
At that time, Ford CEO Jim Farley told CNBC that the company was doing "whatever it takes" to double production capacity for the F-150 Lightning.
"We had to stop reservations, we got so many," Farley told CNBC's Jim Cramer. "We stopped at 200,000, and those are orders. Hard orders."
Ford said it will be implementing a "wave-by-wave reservation process," with reservation holders being asked to watch for an invitation via email from Ford or to log into their Ford.com account over the next few months to place an order for their vehicle.
This week is the final pre-build phase before transitioning into mass production of F-150 Lightning trucks for retail customers and F-150 Lightning Pro for commercial customers, the company said.
Ford's production plans come a day before General Motors is scheduled to reveal an electric version of its Chevrolet Silverado. The pickup is expected to compete more directly with the F-150 Lightning than its GMC Hummer EV, which recently started shipping to consumers. The Silverado isn't expected to go on sale until 2023.
Pricing for the F-150 Lightning, much like the traditional pickup, has a wide range. A work-oriented version of the truck will start at $39,974. More consumer-centric models will start at $52,974 and top out at around $90,000.
– CNBC's Michael Bloom contributed to this report.