Early this week, Ford began production on their highly anticipated 2022 F-150 Lightning electric pickup, with the first complete model rolling off the assembly line a day later. Customers who already reserved their new car will be delighted by the launch, but those who haven’t will have limited opportunities to get their hands on one. The Michigan-based company closed retail orders on the electric vehicle due to high demand, according to a disclaimer on its website.
The high demand for Ford’s F-150 Lightning is great news for the automaker. The company has a great deal riding on its launch for several reasons. Since it was announced last year, interest and demand for the vehicles have been very strong. The carmaker received 200,000 preorders for the electric version of the pickup that has been the country’s best-selling motor vehicle for almost a half-century, CNN Business reports.
Unfortunately, interest in the F-150 Lightning isn’t enough to ensure that Ford can pull off the launch without any problems. In recent years, the multinational automobile manufacturer has had numerous struggles with the launch of new versions of its most popular vehicles. Most notably, the 2019 launch of the Ford Explorer SUV was marred by quality problems that cost the company billions of dollars. It also resulted in the departure of two high-level executives.
Speaking about the crucial launch, Executive Analyst for Cox Automotive Michelle Krebs agreed that the carmaker has a lot riding on it. “Ford has had its troubles with launches, and now added to that there are all of these supply chain issues,” she said via CNN Business. But it’s not all bad news for the company. According to various media outlets, Ford confirmed its 2022 profit outlook despite lower quarterly sales.
This is largely due to strong vehicle pricing which offset the hit from higher operating costs and the ongoing semiconductor chip shortage. In the first quarter of 2022, the company averaged $57,514 for the F-150 truck. This is a 16% rise from 2020, according to data from Edmunds.com. As such, the Michigan firm maintained its forecast of between $11.5-billion and $12.5-billion in adjusted earnings before interest and taxes, citing the effect of continued strong pricing.
Addressing the company’s concerns, Executive Chairman of the Automaker, Bill Ford (and the great-grandson of the company’s founder) compared the importance of the F-150 Lightning to the most important vehicle in the company’s history. “The Model T over 100 years ago brought cars to everybody. Well, this vehicle will bring electric vehicles, particularly electric trucks, to everybody,” he told CNN’s Richard Quest Tuesday.
Interestingly, Michelle Krebs said she thinks Ford is overstating the importance of the F-150 Lightning. But did she agree that it’s a groundbreaking vehicle for the shift to EVs. The Lightning is not the first electric pickup available to customers. But it has beat two of its biggest competitors, Tesla Cybertruck and the Chevrolet Silverado EV to market by a year. Moreover, if manufacturers are going to succeed in getting people to choose electric over gas-powered trucks, they’re will have to make folks comfortable with the idea first.