Ford Motor Company is investing $1 billion in its Chicago, Illinois, Assembly and Stamping Plants and adding a reported 500 new jobs as it prepares to launch three new SUVs, going on sale later this year. The transformation at the plant is set to begin in March and will expand capacity for the production of the new Ford Explorer, including the Explorer ST and Explorer Hybrid, the new Police Interceptor Utility and the new Lincoln Aviator.
The work is expected to be completed by Spring 2019, and includes the addition of an all-new body shop and paint shop at Chicago Assembly, plus major modifications to the final assembly area. At Chicago Stamping, the company will add new stamping lines in preparation for production of the 2020 Ford Explorer, Police Interceptor Utility and Lincoln Aviator. Further, advanced manufacturing technologies will be added including additively manufactured tools and a collaborative robot with a camera for the inspection of electrical connections during the manufacturing process.
Chicago Assembly, located on the city’s south side, is Ford’s longest continually operating vehicle assembly plan. The factory began producing the Model T in 1924 and was converted to war production during World War II. In 2018, Ford was the No. 1 producer of vehicles in the US and the leading exporter of vehicles from the US, producing nearly 2.4 million vehicles over the course of the year.
Joe Hinrichs, president of Ford’s Global Operations, stated, “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 five-hundred more good-paying jobs. We reinvented the Explorer from the ground up, and this investment will further strengthen Ford’s SUV market leadership.”
“Ford’s announcement of five-hundred additional jobs and over $1 billion in plant investments is a testament to the quality and hard work of UAW Ford members,” added 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.”