Ford's all-electric F-150 Lightning has a wait list of more than 200,000.
While the automakers’ bold pledges to focus on manufacturing electric vehicles (EVs) are so far generating more rhetoric than results, the shift at Ford appears to be strongly resonating with both drivers and investors.
Much of the media’s attention over the past year has been focusing on Tesla and the antics of Elon Musk, but at the same time the legacy automaker has been more than holding its own. Ford’s stock, priced at about $8.50 a share one year ago, is now approaching $22. That isn’t a headline-generating figure in itself, yet it is a 140 percent increase over the past year. That makes it the U.S. automotive sector’s top-performing growth stock, outpacing cross-town rival General Motors and yes, even Tesla.
It’s fair to be skeptical of the auto industry’s promise to go all-electric, especially as many of them ditched the manufacturing of smaller cars and sedans in favor of muscle trucks and SUVs. Ford has been a part of that trend, but at the same time the company has said it will invest billions in EVs in early 2021, and doubled down on that bet last fall.
Much of the credit for Ford’s recent performance has been given to its CEO. “Investors have rewarded the new direction under auto veteran Jim Farley, who took the helm in October 2020 after the Ford board ousted industry outsider Jim Hackett,” wrote CNBC’s Michael Wayland earlier today. “Farley promised to be more open and direct with investors. He also launched the Ford+ restructuring plan, which shifts more resources to build electric vehicles like the upcoming F-150 Lightning pickup.”
Farley has clearly put his money in his mouth is, as he is buying into the restructuring plan that he has been pushing all along. Almost two years ago, before he became the CEO of Ford, he bought about $1 million of stock when it was at $5 a share. As of last month, he still hasn’t sold those shares, reported CNN.
That F-150 Lightning pickup, it turns out, is already resonating with drivers with a reported wait list at least 200,000 long – or a backlog of three years. The F-150 series has already been the top-selling vehicle series in the U.S., which of course offers a lift to Ford as the company charts its course toward electrification.
As TriplePundit’s Phil Covington wrote last May, “After all, Ford isn’t inventing a category - it’s building on a brand and the reputation that comes with it. An electric F-150 has to be a workhorse, and frankly, given that it’s a pickup, it’s going to have to prove to prospective buyers of such vehicles, that it’s every bit as good, if not better than its gasoline powered stablemates - with which it will coexist.”
With the buzz surrounding Ford and the plans of other automakers, 2022 could be a banner year for EVs.
Image credit via Ford media relations
Leon Kaye has written for 3p since 2010 and become executive editor in 2018. His previous work includes writing for the Guardian as well as other online and print publications. In addition, he's worked in sales executive roles within technology and financial research companies, as well as for a public relations firm, for which he consulted with one of the globe’s leading sustainability initiatives. Currently living in Central California, he’s traveled to 70-plus countries and has lived and worked in South Korea, the United Arab Emirates and Uruguay.
Leon’s an alum of Fresno State, the University of Maryland, Baltimore County and the University of Southern California's Marshall Business School. He enjoys traveling abroad as well as exploring California’s Central Coast and the Sierra Nevadas.