There are some people who will tell you that time is a linear series of events, happening only in a straight line, uninterrupted, from beginning to end. Others take a bolder, or perhaps more cowardly, approach and believe that time is cyclical, that whatever has happened will happen again at some point in the future, repeating over and over again. For my money, I’d say time is a crude icosahedron, thrown by an uncaring universe, destined forever to roll a 1 and fumble every skill check and saving throw imaginable. History demonstrates this rather well.
Recently, Ford did its best to also demonstrate my point with their announcement of steep price cuts for the F-150 Lightning. Many hailed this move as a bold and exciting offensive move against the upcoming Tesla Cybertruck, or called it a consumer-friendly action designed to make the popular Lightning more accessible. One look at the pricing history of the F-150 Lightning, however, demonstrates that Ford has instead found itself in a recursive time loop similar to the one Doctor Who used the Key to Time to engineer in “The Armageddon Factor,” the likes of which they might not ever escape.
Ford’s Strategy: Rollercoaster Pricing
The recent announcement sounds great, but things aren’t quite as simple as they first seem. Ford recently slashed pricing on the F-150 Lightning with every model seeing a price drop, though the starting Pro model received the most impressive decrease. Overnight, the starting price for the F-150 Lightning Pro dropped by nearly $10,000 and made this impressive truck more accessible for a wide range of drivers who are eager to find themselves on an interminable waiting list for one.
As soon as you step back and look at pricing over the last year, however, then things become as clear as mud. Just over a year ago, the F-150 Lightning Pro had a starting price of just $39,974, a price that was incredibly generous and that many argued was unsustainable. Ford proved those arguments right in August of 2022 when they increased this starting price by $7,000 to $46,974. This was followed by another price hike in October to $51,974, and then a third time in five months when it went up to $55,974 last December. A fourth price hike occurred just this past March, when it rose to $59,974.
Now that we’ve crested the summit of this rollercoaster, the fall has started. In July, Ford announced a price drop to $49,995, a nearly $10,000 decrease. Except, once you go back to a little over a year ago, then you’ll see that we’re still up by about $10,000 from where the F-150 Lightning Pro started at. So while the price has dropped, but it’s still more expensive than it was when first announced. One might almost think that Ford launched the Lightning with an impossibly low price point in order to look better than the competition, always planning out this rollercoaster ride to keep us guessing. Almost.
The Future of Ford Pricing
Rather than take that cynical worldview, however, I believe that Ford has found itself stuck, beyond its own designs or power, within a pricing system fraught with peril. At the moment, we’re seeing just a small part of what’s going to happen, but I predict another price drop to get us back to the starting point of just under $40,000. If my intuition is right, then we might go down again even lower than before, but this is only to set the stage for the next dramatic climb and another steep uphill swing. A year from now, the F-150 Lightning Pro could cost anywhere between $1 and $60,000. Round, round, round, the price goes, and where it stops, nobody knows. This wild unpredictability is exactly what you want with the price of a full-size truck, and I love to see it.
For too long, car companies have provided their customers with a buying experience that is easy to understand and built on established expectations. This kind of pricing is so five minutes ago, and I hope to see more wacky pricing like the F-150 Lightning. Maybe the Mustang Mach-E will cost 4,000 seashells tomorrow, or perhaps the Explorer will be available for barter by offering four years as a household domestic servant to a Ford executive. Who knows? Or they could do something really idiotic, like let people buy their vehicles using cryptocurrency. Wait, no one would be dumb enough to buy into such an obvious scam, sorry. You deserve better than that kind of wild speculation. I’ll do better in the future.
Editor’s Note: We believe in using a pure snapshot model when making market predictions. Based on this, the price of the F-150 Lightning Pro dropped by $10,000 in one month, and we expect it to do the same each month for the next five or six months. As such, we’re waiting until January 2024, when Ford will pay us about $10,000 to take one off their hands. We already saw the price of oil drop to negative dollars per barrel near the beginning of the pandemic, so we know this is possible. Our patience is sure to pay off, and we invite you to adopt the same strategy.