Ford cuts F-150 Lightning price to compete with Tesla’s Cybertruck

Ford is cutting prices of its electric F-150 Lightning pickup trucks by almost $10,000 in what analysts describe as an aggressive attempt to gain market share from rivals Tesla and Rivian.

The 17 percent price drop places the cheapest electric F-150 nearly in line with the average price of $47,490 for all new cars ― considered an important affordability milestone as legacy automakers work to move away from fossil fuels. It follows a similar price drop from Tesla that put its Model Y crossover SUV in the same price range, and it closely coincides with the long-delayed launch of Tesla’s Cybertruck pickup.

Ford said it has benefited from cheaper batteries and production improvements at its Rouge Electric Vehicle Center in Michigan. The automaker previously raised prices and paused electric vehicle production there because of problems with battery components, but Monday’s announcement brings the electric F-150 closer to its initial pricing plan. The production center remains closed for upgrades, according to a Monday press release.

“Shortly after launching the F-150 Lightning, rapidly rising material costs, supply constraints and other factors drove up the cost of the EV truck for Ford and our customers,” said Marin Gjaja, chief customer officer for the company’s EV unit. “We’ve continued to work in the background to improve accessibility and affordability to help to lower prices for our customers and shorten the wait times for their new F-150 Lightning.”

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The price drop brings the standard “Pro” model from $59,974 to $49,995. The Lariat 510A falls from $76,974 to $69,995, while the Platinum Extended Range model drops from $98,074 to $91,995. Those prices do not factor in federal tax credits of up to $7,500 for EV buyers.

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The new prices may help Ford compete more effectively against EV specialists. Tesla was expected to sell the Cybertruck starting at about $50,000, according to a February post from Kelley Blue Book, although Tesla does not provide prices on its website, instead asking car buyers to pay $100 to reserve an order. Rivian’s R1T electric pickup starts at $73,000.

Ford’s price cuts arrive as Tesla’s pickup truck finally enters production. Tesla said its first production Cybertruck rolled off the assembly line Saturday, roughly two years after the original target date and almost four years after a botched unveiling that saw the demo model’s supposedly strong windows cracked by a metal ball.

The F-150 Lightning is seen as a particular threat to Tesla not only because of the Cybertruck’s production delays, but also because its gasoline-powered predecessor has been Ford’s most popular offering, and remains the top-selling U.S. vehicle in 2023, according to the automotive magazine Car and Driver.

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Still, analysts say the initial release of the F-150 Lightning has been underwhelming by some measures.

Gene Munster, an analyst with Deepwater Asset Management, said the price drop is also an indication of flagging demand for expensive EVs. Ford sold just about 15,000 Lightnings last year, he said, far short of what it had been shooting for. The company wants to be able to produce 150,000 a year starting this fall.

“For Ford, it’s an indication that they are in a tight spot because their golden child isn’t holding up right now,” Munster said. “They’re just not getting the traction they need, and so they have to cut the price.”

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Wedbush senior analyst Dan Ives said it’s an “eye-popping move” for Ford to cut prices this much, this early. It indicates a price war among EV manufacturers, he said, and shows that Ford is trying to increase its sales volume even at the expense of profit.

“Ford hears the footsteps of the Cybertruck coming later this year in a crowded EV trucking landscape,” Ives said.

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