NEW YORK: Ford Motor Co is doubling production and cutting prices of gasoline-electric hybrid F-150 pickups as pure electric models become a harder sell among budget-minded buyers.
Ford is seeing growing demand for the hybrid-powered of F-150, which currently accounts for one-in-10 deliveries of its top-selling model.
By cranking up production next year, Ford said Tuesday it’ll offer the hybrid for a starting price of US$55,000 plus destination and delivery charges — the same price as an equivalent gas-fuelled model.
“We expect sales to roughly double,” John Emmert, general manager of Ford North American truck business, said in an interview. “As we get that scale, that allows us to sell it at price parity” with a conventional F-150.
The move is part of chief executive officer Jim Farley’s plan to quadruple sales of hybrids over the next five years as Ford expands gas-electric models throughout its lineup.
It comes as the automaker is throttling back ambitious production plans for its full-electric models and slashing EV prices as car buyers push back at the high price of pure battery power.
“We have been surprised, frankly, at the popularity of hybrid systems for the F-150,” Farley told analysts on the company’s second quarter earnings call in July.
Ford introduced new versions of its F-150 hybrid and the gas-fuelled F-150 model on the sidelines of the annual Detroit Auto Show Tuesday, with freshened styling and new technology. It now expects hybrids to account for one-fifth of F-150 sales, Emmert said.
The hybrid version of Ford’s tiny Maverick truck accounts for nearly 60% of sales. The two models combine to give Ford more than three-quarters of the US market for gas-electric pickups, the company said.
Buyers are turning to hybrid trucks because they offer a way to reduce fuel consumption while still having the power to tow. Hauling a heavy load with an pure-electric F-150 Lightning, which starts at US$49,995, would drain the battery faster and reduce the driving range.
The combination of an electric motor and a 3.5 liter V6 engine, gives the F-150 hybrid 430 horsepower, among the most powerful in the lineup.
The 2023 model averages about 25 miles per gallon compared to 21 mpg for a conventional F-150 with the same engine, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.