(Bloomberg) -- Ford Motor Co. reported sales of its F-150 Lightning plug-in pickup fell 46% in the third quarter as the automaker expanded its factory and delayed delivery of trucks for “quality checks.”
The Lightning, Ford’s signature electric vehicle, lost ground in the quarter as its factory in Dearborn, Michigan, was shut for six weeks while it was expanded to produce 150,000 trucks a year. Since the factory came back up in early August, Ford said it has been holding vehicles for unspecified quality reasons.
“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,” Said Deep, a Ford spokesman, said in an email. “We expect vehicle flow to improve across the fourth quarter.”
Ford slashed prices on Lightning models by as much as 17% in July to compete with Tesla Inc., which also has been cutting prices this year as EV sales growth slows in the US. Chief Executive Officer Jim Farley has said buyers are balking at the high price of EVs and he’s put a renewed emphasis on gasoline-electric hybrids, which he predicts will quadruple in sales at Ford over the next five years.
Ford’s overall EV sales rose 15% in the third quarter to 20,962 models as the Mustang Mach-E jumped 43% after undergoing its own factory expansion in Mexico in the first quarter.
“This is similar to the capacity actions we took on Mach-E earlier in the year,” Erich Merkle, Ford’s sales analyst, said of the Lightning sales decline. “Mach-E is now reporting a record quarter.”
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