Automobile

Ford to limit F-150 Lightning output; 20K reservations booked

DETROIT — Ford Motor Co. took about 20,000 reservations for the 2022 F-150 Lightning within 12 hours of the electric pickup’s debut and will limit production in its first year on sale, according to CEO Jim Farley.

Farley, speaking Thursday on CNBC, said the company was “off to the races” after opening up order banks after the vehicle’s Wednesday night reveal. Ford is taking $100 refundable deposits for the Lightning, which starts at $39,974 before shipping.

Speaking to reporters Wednesday evening, Farley said the company would limit production in the vehicle’s first year on sale and that Ford already had “made a call on volume,” but he declined to give a number. Ford took a similar strategy with the 2021 Mustang Mach-E electric crossover, limiting it to 50,000 vehicles in its first year of production.

Wolfe Research analyst Rod Lache, in an investor note Thursday, estimated Lightning production would be limited to 80,000 pickups per year, based on capacity data from parts plants that supply the truck.

Ford is banking on the Lightning to draw in new customers and convert electric vehicle skeptics.

“This is America’s bestselling vehicle, so if there’s one vehicle that’s going to give us an indication of whether these EVs are going to take off, it will be this Lightning,” Farley said on CNBC.

Ford shares rose 2.5 percent to $12.42 in Thursday morning trading in New York.

Analysts so far seem impressed with the pickup’s capability and low starting price.

Lache said it could be a “game-changer.”

Ryan Brinkman, an analyst with J.P. Morgan, raised his share price target to $16 from $15 and noted the Lightning was “clearly superior to its internal combustion cousin.”

Brinkman also recounted a recent presentation for analysts during which Ford executives asked what price they thought the Lightning would start at. Answers ranged from $59,000 to $69,000.

“The actual starting price, Ford told us, was $49,000, which was sufficiently low to elicit audible gasps followed by polite clapping from the audience,” he wrote. “After which we were told, ‘Just joking — we played a [trick] on you. It doesn’t start at $49,000, it starts at $39,974.’ ”

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