Ford is Investing $1 Billion in its Chicago Plants and Adding 500 Jobs
As General Motors closes plants and layoff thousands of workers, the Ford Motor Company is investing $1 billion in its Chicago assembly and stamping plants and adding 500 new jobs, as it prepares to launch three highly anticipated new SUVs that go on sale later this year, including the all-new Explorer SUV, the all-time best selling SUV in the U.S.
Work on the plants is scheduled to begin in March and will include expanded capacity for the production of the new Explorer, including an all-new Police Interceptor Utility and the upmarket Lincoln Aviator SUV.
In preparation for the new models. Ford is building an all-new body shop and paint shop at Chicago Assembly plant, and making major modifications to the final assembly area. At Ford's Chicago Stamping plant, the company is adding new stamping lines in preparation for the new SUV models.
The work will be completed in the spring. Ford is adding 500 full-time jobs to Chicago, and both plants will employ approximately 5,800 workers. Ford employs the most hourly U.S. autoworkers.
"Ford's announcement of 500 additional jobs and over $1 billion in plant investments is a testament to the quality and hard work of UAW Ford members," said Rory Gamble, Vice President of the UAW Ford Department. "Every day UAW Ford members head to work, proud of the products they build and the craftsmanship required in vehicles like the Explorer, Aviator and Police Interceptor. Ford's investment announcement demonstrates a commitment to the dedication of UAW members in Chicago."
3D Printed Tools & Advanced Manufacturing
Ford will deploy advanced manufacturing technologies at both plants, include a collaborative robot with a camera that inspects electrical connections during the manufacturing process. In addition, Ford is adding 3D printed tools to help improve assembly quality.
The production of three new SUVs will add to Ford's output in the United States. In 2018, Ford was the largest producer of vehicles in the U.S. as well as the leading exporter.
The automaker built nearly 2.4 million vehicles in 2018.
The 2020 luxury Lincoln Aviator will be built at Ford's Chicago assembly plant
"We are proud to be America's top producer of automobiles. Today, we are furthering our commitment to America with this billion dollar manufacturing investment in Chicago and 500 more good-paying jobs," said Joe Hinrichs, president, Global Operations. "We reinvented the Explorer from the ground up, and this investment will further strengthen Ford's SUV market leadership."
Since its introduction in 1991, the Ford Explorer became America's all-time best-selling SUV. Ford says the new model features lighter, leaner and stronger construction, with more powerful and efficient EcoBoost engines.
The all-new Explorer ST features a specially tuned 3.0-liter engine projected to make 400 horsepower and 415 lb.-ft. of torque, with a top track speed of 143 mph.
The all-new Explorer Hybrid SUV designed to offer performance and capability in a fuel-efficient package and is projected to return an EPA-estimated range of more than 500 miles between fill-ups in the rear-wheel-drive model.
The new Explorer Police Interceptor Utility
The new Police Interceptor Utility comes with a standard hybrid all-wheel-drive powertrain has a projected EPA-estimated rating of 24 mpg combined, a 41 percent improvement over the current model equipped with a 3.7-liter gas engine.
Ford sells nearly two-thirds of all police vehicles sales in the U.S. In 2017, the Ford Police Interceptor Utility accounted for more than half of all police vehicle sales in the United States, outselling all other police vehicles combined.
Based on average fuel costs. Ford projects that the hybrid police Explorer will save municipalities between $3,500 and $5,700 per vehicle annually in fuel costs versus the current gas-powered Police Interceptor Utility.
The all-new Lincoln Aviator will arrive at dealer showrooms in the summer.The Aviator will be available globally, entering the highest volume segment in the U.S., the midsize luxury market, and the third-highest volume segment in China.
Ford's Chicago Assembly plant is located on the city's south side and is Ford's longest continually operating vehicle assembly plant in the U.S. The factory began producing the Model T in 1924.
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