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Ford CEO Jim Farley said Thursday that interest in the automaker's soon-to-launch F-150 Lightning electric pickup truck is so great that it had to stop taking reservations.
"We are completely oversubscribed with our battery electric vehicles, Lightning especially," Farley said in an interview during a special live online event, "CNBC Investing Club: Jim Cramer's Game Plan for 2022."
"We had to stop reservations we got so many," Farley added. "We stopped at 200,000, and those are orders. Hard orders."
Farley said Ford, a core holding in Cramer's charitable trust, is pushing full production capacity at "70,000 or 80,000 units" for the Lightning, the all-electric version of America's decadeslong best-selling F-series pickup truck.
"We're going to try to double that," he said. "We've done it in the past. Don't bet against Ford when we have to increase capacity. This is what we do." The Lightning is expected to arrive in dealerships by mid-2022.
Cramer has touted Farley's ability to execute a turnaround at Ford since Farley was promoted from chief operating officer to the top job, effective Oct. 1, 2020. The stock has soared since then, gaining nearly 200% as of Wednesday's closing price of $19.81.
"We started recommending Ford Motor to 'Mad Money' viewers way back in October of last year. The stock was trading at seven bucks and change," Cramer recalled during the special on Thursday. "Just over a month later, we took our own advice and bought it for the charitable trust."
Viewers of CNBC have seen Cramer talking about Farley and how he hopes to beat Tesla and Elon Musk in electric vehicles. Cramer tried to get Farley to call out Musk. The Ford CEO did not take the bait, mostly.
Farley said, "I'm a race car driver. Second place is the first loser." He added, in a veiled reference to Musk, "I can't keep track of the other racers. All I know is there's one finish line and we are motivated to get there."
In an interview with Automotive News last month, he said he plans to increase EV production capacity to 600,000 units globally by 2023. He expects that would make Ford the No. 2 electric-vehicle maker, presumably behind Tesla but possibly General Motors, which plans to sell 1 million electric vehicles globally by 2025.
Farley also ran through a bunch of other hot-button issues.
- He said Ford needs batteries for its EVs more than semiconductors. "The issue is batteries. That's what we have to solve."
- He said it's too early to tell what Ford might do with its "over $10 billion" stake in newly public Rivian Automotive. He called the EV maker a "great American company." Amazon is also a backer.
- He also commented on Ford's plan to reinstate its regular dividend in the fourth quarter. "We had to start somewhere. Ten cents is a good place to start."
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Disclosure: Jim Cramer's charitable trust is long F and AMZN.