When it rains, it pours.
As the UAW strike continues to pressure Detroit's "Big 3" and while Elon Musk continues to suffocate EV manufacturers with Tesla's aggressive price cutting, Ford is apparently dealing with additional issues involving its F-150 electric pickup.
Ford announced a 46% decline in third-quarter sales of its F-150 Lightning electric pickup truck, attributing the downturn to a factory shutdown for expansion and delays due to "quality checks."
The automaker closed its Dearborn, Michigan, facility for six weeks to increase its annual production capacity to 150,000 trucks. Since resuming operations in early August, Ford has withheld deliveries for quality evaluations, although specific reasons were not disclosed, Bloomberg reported this week.
In an effort to compete with Tesla Inc., Ford reduced the prices of its Lightning models by up to 17% in July. This comes as both companies grapple with a slowing rate of EV sales growth in the United States.
Despite challenges with the Lightning, Ford saw an overall 15% increase in its EV sales for the third quarter, reaching 20,962 units. This boost was largely driven by a 43% surge in sales of the Mustang Mach-E, which benefited from a factory expansion in Mexico earlier this year.
Said Deep, a Ford spokesman, said in an email to Bloomberg: “We are conducting additional quality checks at the Rouge Electric Vehicle Center, which has delayed delivery since we restarted the plant with the capacity increase. We expect vehicle flow to improve across the fourth quarter."
Erich Merkle, Ford’s sales analyst, added: “This is similar to the capacity actions we took on Mach-E earlier in the year. Mach-E is now reporting a record quarter.”
Recall we published a piece by The Epoch Times back in August 2023 wherein Ford's CEO, Jim Farley, admitted to having a "reality check" after taking the company's F-150 on a road trip.
"Charging has been pretty challenging," Mr. Farley said in a video on X, formerly known as Twitter. "It was a really good reality check of the challenges of what our customers go through and the importance of fast charging and what we're going to have to do to improve the charging experience."
The road trip came after a Canadian man told news outlets that he was forced to abandon his Ford electric truck after suffering charging failures during a road trip. Dalbir Bala of La Salle, Manitoba, said he left his Lightning in Minnesota last month after he couldn't charge its battery at two different stations.
He then continued his drive in a rented gas-powered vehicle instead, he said. His wife and three children joined him for the trip to Wisconsin and Chicago, setting out with three scheduled stops to recharge on the trip.
“It was really a nightmare frustration for us,” Mr. Bala told CBC News.
Does this leave the door open perfectly for Tesla's launch of the Cybertruck?