Ford urges its managers to buy more EVs with new leasing policy

DETROIT, (Reuters) – Ford Motor is trying to get more of its managers to buy electric vehicles, according to an internal email the automaker sent last week that was reviewed by Reuters.

The Dearborn, Michigan-based company changed a leasing program it offers to eligible current and former managers, now requiring them to order an electric Mustang Mach-E SUV or F-150 Lightning pickup if they wish to lease a supplemental vehicle. Workers are allowed a set number of leased vehicles, typically one to two, depending on their management level, before ordering a supplemental car.

This is the first time Ford has restricted employees to buying EVs for the supplemental lease program, a company spokesman said.

“By encouraging our employees to drive an electric vehicle through the optional program, they can learn firsthand how easy it is and better share their experiences with friends and family — a key way to increase familiarity with new technology,” the spokesman said.

Ford has thousands of managers, but the company declined to say how many would be affected by the policy change. Vehicles leased by Ford managers count as a sale for the automaker.

Sales of the F-150 Lightning have come in slower than Ford CEO Jim Farley initially projected. After twice expanding production capacity for the F-150 Lightning plant and adding a third shift to the facility, Ford halved production of the electric truck earlier this year.

Farley expected the plant to churn out trucks at a 150,000-vehicle annualized run rate, before walking back those goals over the last year. Ford sold about 24,000 Lightnings in 2023 and about 41,000 Mach-E SUVs the same year.

Ford slashed prices of the Mach-E and Lightning several times since early 2023 to spur demand and compete with price cuts made by EV leader Tesla.

While the growth rate for EVs has slowed, demand for hybrids has soared. Sales of Ford hybrids increased 25.3% in 2023 over the year-ago period, outpacing the sales growth of EVs, which logged a 17.9% increase over the same timeframe. Ford is set to release first-half sales results Wednesday.

Farley has increasingly emphasized his focus on hybrid production in recent months, saying these vehicles will be a substantial part of Ford’s portfolio for the foreseeable future.

If employees are driving a supplemental lease vehicle different from the two EVs Ford designated, they must return their vehicle or purchase it by May 15, 2025 the email sent to managers said.

Reporting by Nora Eckert; Editing by Aurora Ellis