One of the world’s fastest electric pickup trucks, the Ford F-150 Lightning, could be on sale in Australian showrooms. But first there is an obstacle to overcome.
Ford Australia executives have again refused to rule out the possibility of the Ford F-150 Lightning electric pickup truck joining the local F-150 lineup.
However, the chances of the electric variant joining the local Ford F-150 lineup depends on the success of the upcoming local conversion program of the regular F-150 to gas that will be in showrooms in the second half of 2023. .
Ford Australia Chairman and CEO Andrew Birkic told the media during a preview of the Ford E-Transit electric van: “When it comes to [F-150 Lightning], I’d love to? Absolutely.”
“I definitely think there is a client for it. We’ve seen it globally, well certainly in North America, but our focus right now is to land the plane and not far from here outside of [Melbourne] we have a pretty big factory that RMA [a Thai-based third-party manufacturing provider] they are doing, putting a lot of processes to land the plane in the XLT and Lariat remanufacturing and that should be our focus.”
Ford’s local right-hand-drive program follows in the footsteps of American pickup truck tires from Ram and Chevrolet, which are used by factory-backed remanufacturing company, Walkinshaw Automotive Group (the former parent company of Holden Special Vehicles).
Ford has appointed Thailand-based RMA Group to convert left-hand drive F-150s to right-hand drive at a new purpose-built facility not far from Ford’s former assembly line in Broadmeadows, Victoria.
If that program is successful, the F-150 Lightning may not be far behind.
“So once we get past that, and of course we do things in parallel as well, but certainly [launching XLT and Lariat variants] is our main focus when it comes to the F-Series. To make sure we meet our quality targets, production targets, try that process,” said Mr. Birkic.
“And again, you probably look at it as if you’re going a little bit slow, sometimes you need to go a little bit slow to go fast and make sure that’s our main goal for doing it. Not to say we won’t, but right now the answer is ‘no’.”
Birkic confirmed that the F-150 Lightning is No one of five new battery or hybrid electric vehicles the local arm plans to introduce by the end of 2024.
The first examples of the locally converted twin-turbo V6 gasoline Ford F-150 will be in showrooms in the second half of this year.
Customers can already order a new Ford F-150 through showrooms ahead of the car’s launch later this year, with many outlets reporting wait times as being at least six to 12 months.