Ford Motor Company (NYSE:F) shares have been on the move since 2020, and going in the right direction. After a lengthy slide that began in 2014 and saw F stock drop to the $4 range after the 2020 stock market crash, shares are now trading around $24. That’s about a 181% growth over the past 12 months. A good chunk of that came on Tuesday, when Ford shares closed at $24.31 for a single-day gain of nearly 12%. The reason for Tuesday’s big gain? That would be big news about the F-150 Lightning, Ford’s forthcoming all-electric pickup truck.
The company announced it will be doubling F-150 Lightning production — for the second time.
The demand for a battery-powered version of Ford’s most important vehicle is a good sign and it has investors pumped. At this point, F stock is at levels not seen since 2001. With the F-150 Lightning only months from going on sale, and Ford determined to release zero-emissions versions of its most popular vehicles, continued growth feels like a given as the original American auto pioneer begins an electrical resurgence.
Ford Plans to Double F-150 Lightning Production, Again
It is almost impossible to understate the importance of the F-150 pickup truck to Ford.
First released in 1948, the F-150 is one of the most popular vehicles of all time. It has been the best-selling vehicle (including cars and SUVs) in the U.S. for nearly 40 years. As of 2018, the company had sold over 40 million of them.
M. Berk Talay is an Associate Professor of Marketing at UMass Lowell. In a 2018 article in The Conversation, he estimated that each F-150 sold earns Ford a profit of $10,000. He wrote that at that time, the F-150 pickup truck accounted for roughly 90% of Ford’s global profits.
With consumers turning to electric vehicles (EVs) and electric car makers preparing to launch their own battery-powered pickup trucks, the F-150 Lightning may be the most important new vehicle in Ford’s history. With expensive batteries needed to move the weight of a pickup truck, the F-150 Lighting is priced at a premium. The base model F-150 Lighting (aimed at the commercial market) starts at nearly $42,000 compared to about $30,000 for the gas powered F-150. The base model aimed at the consumer market starts at nearly $53,000. The top end Platinum F-150 Lighting starts at over $92,000.
Pickup Truck Owners Are Enthusiastic
However, despite the hefty price tag, pickup owners are all-in on Ford’s new electric pickup truck.
When Ford first announced the F-150 Lighting last May, the initial production target was 40,000 units per year. The company stopped taking reservations last December when they hit 200,000. At that point, the production target had been bumped up to between 70,000 and 80,000 units per year.
On Tuesday, Ford announced that it was planning to nearly double its production target for F-150 Lightning by mid-2023. At that point, the company plans to be churning out 150,000 of the battery-powered pickup trucks per year.
The market reacted by sending F stock to a single-day 11.7% gain, its biggest single-day move since June 2020.
An Incredible Turnaround Story for F Stock
At this point, Ford is in the early stages of becoming a classic turnaround story. Less than two years ago, the company saw its stock downgraded to junk status.
Today, F stock earns an “A” rating in my Portfolio Grader.
The Mustang Mach-E was Ford’s highly successful opening salvo in its transformation from a traditional automaker to an EV giant. But it will be the F-150 Lightning that cements its status and sees Ford regain its prominence after a decade of decline.
Bottom Line on F Stock
Ford may experience challenges as it ramps up F-150 Lightning production for its May 2022 launch. Ongoing chip shortages are going to continue to be an issue.
However, as impressive as F stock gains have been over the past year, expect that growth to be just a start once the F-150 Lightning starts hitting dealer lots.
On the date of publication, Louis Navellier had a long position in F. Louis Navellier did not have (either directly or indirectly) any other positions in the securities mentioned in this article. The InvestorPlace Research Staff member primarily responsible for this article did not hold (either directly or indirectly) any positions in the securities mentioned in this article.
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