Autos

Ford Tries to Ruin F-150 Lightning

Ford Motor Co. (NYSE: F) has done its best to undermine F-150 Lightning sales, showing how badly the electric vehicle (EV) part of the company is managed. As customer interest in the pickup has been good, Ford clobbered buyer interest by raising the price of the base model of the vehicle by 9% to $55,975, which makes it very expensive by full-sized pickup standards. It is the second time Ford has pushed up the price in the past four months.

It appears that Ford does not understand what its products cost to make. The most embarrassing case of this was when it told investors in September that its expenses would be $1 billion higher than expected. The mistake hit Ford’s third-quarter numbers.

How can one of the world’s largest car companies be so far off on expenses? Ford is better at missing its numbers than any other global vehicle manufacturer. And it continues to gamble that potential buyers will not be bothered. It also suddenly raised the price of its popular Mustang Mach-E EV in August. The increase was as high as $8,000 for Mach-E’s highest-end model.

The increase in the Lightening’s price will offset, at least somewhat, the huge lead Ford should have in the electric pickup business. Ford’s F150 has been the top-selling vehicle in the United States for four decades. Six million of the gasoline-powered version of the truck are likely in customer hands. That gives Ford a natural pool of buyers. The base price of the gas-powered version of the truck is $33.695, so the premium to buy the electric version is huge.


Ford’s reputation for blundering the costs of components in its supply chain has affected its stock. Ford’s shares are off 40% this year. Better-run Toyota shares are off 24% in the same period.


The problems have happened on the watch of fairly recently appointed CEO Jim Farley. He best watch over his shoulder. Executive Chair William Clay Ford Jr. has a habit of dumping chief executives. The Ford family has to be upset that the company it has controlled for over a century is in such poor shape.

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