Shares of Ford Motor Company (F 0.79%) were moving higher on Tuesday morning after the company said it's taking additional steps to significantly increase production of its upcoming electric F-150 Lightning pickup truck. As of 10:30 a.m. ET, Ford's shares were up about 9.7% from Monday's closing price.
Ford said on Tuesday that it plans to increase its capacity to manufacture the F-150 Lightning to a rate of 150,000 trucks per year by mid-2023.
That's nearly four times the production capacity that Ford had originally planned for the truck. Ford executives have admitted that the huge interest in the F-150 Lightning took them by surprise, and the company has mounted an intense effort to accelerate its production ramp up to meet demand.
"With nearly 200,000 reservations, our teams are working hard and creatively to break production constraints to get more F-150 Lightning trucks into the hands of our customers," said Kumar Galhotra, who leads Ford's regional business units in North and South America. "Ford is pulling out all the stops to scale our operations and increase production capacity."
Investors should note that Ford clarified that those 200,000 reservations are all from retail customers. The company has had significant additional interest from its commercial-fleet customers. It's clear why Ford is pushing as hard as it can to boost production, even before the first Lightning has been shipped.
Why is the stock up today? Because Ford has a smash hit on its hands, and it's a version of its most profitable product -- and it's an electric vehicle.
Ford said that it's in the "final stage" of pre-production at the Michigan factory that will build the Lightning. The trucks being built now will be used for a final round of testing, helping Ford to iron out any lingering quality issues before the factory begins building Lightnings for customers.
Ford also said that the first wave of Lightning reservation holders will be invited to convert their reservations to orders beginning this Thursday.