If you have your name on the waiting list for the all-electric Ford F-150 Lightning, be prepared to wait some more — and then some more and then. ... Well, you get the idea.
The list is so long that some fans of America's bestselling pickup franchise won't get the 2022 model year and will need to wait until 2023 or even later.
In fact, the list is so long that Ford Motor Co. has stopped taking the $100 refundable reservation deposits it started accepting in May.
"We're completely oversubscribed with our battery-electric vehicles, Lightning especially," Ford CEO Jim Farley told Jim Cramer on the "CNBC Investing Club" during a livestream broadcast.
Ford has so many reservations for the Lightning that if they all turned into purchases, the volume would far exceed the company's capacity to fill orders.
"We stopped at 200,000," Farley told CNBC. Ford plans to build 70,000 to 80,000 of the electric pickups in 2022, although Farley said the company is scrambling to increase the production run,
"Don't bet against Ford when we have to increase capacity," he said.
One of the interesting facets of the swelling customer demand is that none of those customers have even driven it yet.
"Wait until they drive it," Farley said. "Zero to 60 like a 911 [Porsche]. It's just an incredible product."
Official orders will begin getting booked in January. And delivery of the battery-operated vehicle is scheduled to begin in mid-2022.
Tweaking the system
Ford will begin working its way down the reservation list and "inviting" people if they want to convert to an order. If so, the process will begin. If people decline, the next name on the list gets invited to purchase.
"And so on," said Hannah Ooms, a Ford spokesperson.
"Reservation holders will be invited to place orders at staggered dates so we can more easily provide directional delivery timing to customers during the order process," she said. "Reservation holders will receive an invitation to order via e-mail from Ford. The number of customers invited will vary by wave."
There is no set number of waves in the invitation process, Ooms explained.
The number of waves will be adjusted throughout the process based on available commodities and customer order rates from each previous wave, she said.
Those who don't get an invitation to order a 2022 vehicle will be invited to order in subsequent model years, Ooms said.
John McElroy, host of "Autoline After Hours" podcast and webcast, said the Lightning debunks the idea that the public lacks interest in electric vehicles.
"While some people complain that the government is trying to shove electric vehicles down their throat, Ford had to stop taking reservations for the F-150 Lightning because it couldn't keep up with demand," McElroy said. "It's crazy. Half the public thinks EVs are stupid, and the other half can't get one soon enough."
Farley downplayed the challenge of increasing production, telling CNBC that the issues with the semiconductor chip supply aren't the same, he said.
"We'll get semiconductors," he said. "That's a matter of prioritizing the BEVs [battery electric vehicles] over the ICE [internal combustion engine] vehicles. The issue is batteries. That's what we have to solve. ... Our UAW members are ready to make these vehicles. We have to find batteries."
Cramer of CNBC pushed Farley about the speed of production and the competitive landscape, specifically top electric carmaker Tesla run by Elon Musk. He asked if Farley has a "get Musk squad."
"Look, I'm a race car driver. Second place is the first loser. That's how I look at business," Farley said. "Our investors are betting on this company. So you should expect us, as we go battery electric, we can really reinvent the brand. We're doing that with F-150 Lightning."
Potential buyers who want a Lightning are asked by Ford to sign up for "Get Updates" at the F-150 Lightning webpage (ford.to/3s7QzDv) so that Ford can provide updates on when orders will be accepted from non-reservation holders.
The starting price of the Lightning is around $40,000.