Ford F-150 Lightning Base Price Slides Back Under ,000

good morning! It’s Monday, July 17, 2023 and this is The MorningShift, your daily roundup of the top automotive headlines from around the world, in one place. Here are the important stories you need to know.

1st Gear: Lightning (Price) Crashes (A Little)

the F-150 Lightning sounded like a promising value when it was first launched in 2021, starting at about $40,000 for the base Pro model. That truck’s price rose to more than $60,000 this year, and potential customers have responded the way you’d expect them to: by striking the electric pickup from their consideration.

Ford has recognized this, and on Monday announced a significant price reduction for the Lightning — even though the truck still won’t be as cheap as it was on Day One. An upcoming increase in production output has seemed allowed Dearborn to walk those stickers back a bit, by $9,979 for base examples and between $6,900 and $8,500 for higher-trim Lariats. The discounts vary per trim, but the key is that the Pro version now starts at $49,995. From CNBC:

Ford said that prices for some of the least expensive versions of the Lighting would fall by nearly $10,000. Prices for all versions, including the top-line Platinum trim, will fall by at least $6,000 from levels set in March.

Ford had increased the Lightning’s prices several times since its 2021 debut, citing supply constraints and sharply higher prices for the minerals used in the electric truck’s batteries. Ford has worked to increase the production of the truck in recent months, with factory upgrades that are expected to triple its output set to be in place by fall.

The Dearborn factory that makes the Lightning will be closed for several weeks while the production upgrades are put in place, Ford said on Monday.

Of course, this news coincides with Tesla finally begins production of its Cybertruck over the weekend, which Ford is probably more than a little worried about. Though if it’s any consolation to the F-150 maker, Tesla hasn’t been clear about what the Cybertruck even costs anymore. Four years ago it was supposed to start at $39,900, but that information was scrubbed from Tesla’s website in August 2021. Whatever it costs, Elon Musk thinks he’ll be able to wipe the floor with the Silverado in terms of sales. The gas one, not the electric one.

2nd Gear: Here’s Who’s Falling Behind In The EV Race

We know that there are plenty of EVs on dealer lots around the country right now, but thanks to new data by way of Cox Automotive, today we have a better idea of ​​which brands and models lost out the most in 2023 thus far. TL;DR: Ford and Kia are on the downswing. From Automotive News:

One of last year’s best performers, the Ford Mustang Mach-E compact crossover, saw sales fall in the first five months of the year compared with the same period last year.

For full-year 2022, new Mustang Mach-E registrations grew by 50 percent to 38,469 from a year earlier. But in the first five months of 2023, they fell by 29 percent to 10,948. Ford reduced Mustang Mach-E prices earlier this year after Tesla slashed the sticker for its Model Y competitor.

As a brand, Ford grew its EV registrations by 30 percent through May and was the No. 3 EV brands after Tesla and Chevrolet, with 22,425. But its growth pace was well below the 68 percent number for the EV market as a whole this year and significantly behind its 2022 growth pace of 120 percent, Experian said. […]

Another hot EV brand last year, Kia, saw its fortunes flag in the first five months of this year. New registrations of its EV6 compact crossover dropped 29 percent to 6,780. Its smaller EV crossover, the Niro, saw registrations fall 27 percent to 4,425, Experian said.

For full-year 2022, Kia posted a 236 percent rise in EV registrations to 23,506. Kia’s EV share fell to 2.5 percent this year from 5.8 percent last year, based on five-month Experian data.

It’s worth mentioning that since last year the Mach-E’s tax break has been halved, while Kia’s cars no longer qualify for them at all. Hyundai’s been doing a little better thanks to more aggressive lease offers on the Ioniq 5. Also, Nissan’s already small share is dwindling as the Ariya is out but just barelyand Tesla sold about twice as many examples of the Model S as Porsche did from the Taycan over the first five months of 2023. The only notable, objective winner from the report? Rivian.

3rd Gear: Battery Plants Versus Farms

The small town of Marshall, Michigan is the future site of Ford’s BlueOval Battery Park, and local residents and farmers are understandably concerned about the facility’s effect on the community for a number of reasons. An opposition group is attempting to block Ford’s construction on a parcel of land recently rezoned for industrial use, though success appears unlikely. From Crain’s Detroit Business by the way AutoNews:

Of primary concern is being “boxed in” by industrialization, [Marshall Township supervisor and owner of Bosserd Family Farm David] Bosserd said. Many acres of “good farmland” allocated for the site will not be farmed in the future. The industrial use of fertile land has been criticized by farmers throughout the area, with many lamenting the forfeiture of soil they consider a precious resource and crucial to their livelihoods.

The loss of the land will put pressure on local farmers who will now have to go farther to find new “farm ground to be able to sustain (their) operations,” Bosserd said. Competition will also increase between farmers as a result.

“As you fragment agriculture, it makes it harder for it to survive,” he added. “You increase the traffic because we have to move equipment down the road. And there has to be a certain size for a farm so that it can sustain itself.”

Pollution of the Kalamazoo River watershed is another concern:

Victoria McGuffin, a professor of chemistry at Michigan State University and a resident of Marshall, has also been outspoken about her concerns. She is not opposed to the battery plant itself, but fears the location could threaten “surface water, groundwater and private and public water supplies.”

The Kalamazoo River is a “vulnerable” watershed, McGuffin said, due to an Enbridge Inc. pipeline burst in 2010 that released an estimated 843,000 gallons of heavy crude oil into the river. Restoration took more than four years and “the river is still recovering,” she added.

Ford’s argument is that the site will add 2,500 jobs to a region that lost about 2,000 jobs since 2003, and the promise of “community wealth” rejuvenating schools and small businesses and infrastructure. It’s a nice dream on paper — but as ever, only if you can hold the corporate colossus to it.

4th Gear: Here’s How VinFast Is Doing

Are you wondering how many new VinFasts have entered the national road system since the start of 2023? Well, wonder no longer. The answer is 128 — at least as of June 1. Courtesy AutoNews:

According to Experian data, the VF 8 had one new registration in February, 16 in March, 66 in April and 45 in May. Among the 25 brands on Experian’s list of new EV registrations, VinFast was No. 22, followed by Jaguar, GMC and Mazda.

This comes as VinFast’s special-purpose acquisition company investors are jumping ship ahead of a planned initial public offering for the US stock market, and of course all those unencouraging reviews You sweeping recall for the VF8 concerning the one and only screen that conveys information inside the entire vehicle. This has been your VinFast update.

Reverse: TWA 800

On this day in 1996 — 27 years ago — TWA Flight 800 en route to Paris exploded over Long Island, killing all 230 passengers on board. A four-year investigation culminated in a determination that the explosion occurred due to a short circuit that ignited the fuel-air mixture in the plane’s center wing fuel tank. In 2021, the National Transportation Safety Board vowed to destroy the wreckage it kept in a Virginia hangar for training purposes.

Neutral: Your Best Price Guess, Now

Tesla’s second-quarter earnings calls are scheduled for Wednesday, so let’s all make sure we have our Cybertruck Bingo boards filled out by then.