July 17 (Reuters) – Ford Motor Company (FN) deepened the electric car maker’s price war on Monday by slashing the prices of its F-150 Lightning pickup trucks, including a 17% cut for the base model, as it aims to boost its prices. Its electric vehicle market share is controlled by Tesla (TSLA.O).
Ford shares were down about 5% in afternoon trading. Rival General Motors (GM.N) also fell about 3%, while electric car maker Rivian (RIVN.O) fell about 4%. Tesla shares rose 2% after the company built its first Cybertruck at its Austin plant.
The Detroit automaker, which raised prices for the Lightning earlier this year, said it was able to lower prices on improvements in size and raw material costs for the battery.
The move comes amid a price war that Tesla launched a few months ago, which has seen the old automakers’ electric cars piled on dealers as sales slow. In the quarter ending in June, Ford’s EV sales fell 2.8%.
“Soon after the launch of the F-150 Lightning, rapidly increasing material costs, supply constraints and other factors increased the cost of the EV truck for Ford and our customers,” said Marin Gaja, Ford Model e chief customer officer.
“We have continued to work in the background to improve accessibility and affordability.”
Ford also said it is temporarily closing its Rouge Electric Vehicle Center in Michigan to complete final plant upgrades as it aims to double the facility’s annual operating rate to 150,000 Lightning trucks, starting this fall.
James Picariello, an analyst at BNP Paribas Exane, said that while pricing will always be a meaningful driver, moving from Ford’s $3 billion loss rate for the Model e to break-even will require the lion’s share of volume.
The price of raw materials for batteries was one of the factors driving up the price of electric vehicles. But prices for cobalt and lithium, two staples for electric vehicle batteries, have fallen.
Ford has also beefed up its supply options and unveiled new supply deals for lithium in the battery category earlier this year.
The base Pro variant of the Lightning now carries a suggested retail price of $49,995, up from its previous price of $59,974, while the higher-end Platinum model will cost about 6.2% less, at $91,995.
Additional reporting by Nathan Gomez and Shivansh Tiwari in Bengaluru; Edited by Pooja Desai
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