Ford halted assembly of its in-demand F-150 Lightning in early February over a battery issue. Now, the Dearborn-based automaker says the EV pickup will resume production at the Rouge Electric Vehicle Center on March 13. However, built Lightnings currently being held will remain in Ford's care for the foreseeable future, awaiting updates.
The planned March 13 relaunch allows time for battery supplier SK On to build new battery packs and have them delivered to the plant. In an email regarding Lightning production, a Ford spokesperson stated the company will "apply our learnings and work with SK On's team to ensure we continue delivering high-quality battery packs – down to the battery cells." It's unclear at this time if production will ramp up slowly or go full tilt on the 13th.
Gallery: Ford F-150 Lightning Production
Regardless of production, built Lightnings awaiting shipping will remain in limbo for an unspecified amount of time, pending updates to "parts and engineering processes." A Ford spokesperson had nothing further to add regarding details for these parts or processes. An update on the timeframe for releasing the trucks will come later.
This all started from an incident on February 4. An F-150 Lightning awaiting a pre-delivery inspection in a holding lot caught fire while charging. The extent of damage caused is unknown, but the fire prompted Ford to immediately halt Lightning production and issue a stop-shipment on trucks awaiting delivery. Thus far, no recalls or stop-sale notices have been announced regarding trucks already at dealerships or with owners. Additionally, a specific cause for the problem hasn't been disclosed.
The production pause comes amid a very strong start to 2023 for Ford in terms of sales. The automaker reports a year-to-date increase of 11.8 percent overall as of March 1. EV sales are up considerably, with Ford reporting a 68.1-percent year-over-year increase for the month of February. A breakdown of that percentage shows Mustang Mach-E led the way with 1,783 sales for the month, followed by Lightning with 1,336 sales. The E-Transit accounted for 404 sales.