Ford investing $1 billion, adding 500 jobs in Chicago factories

Marco Green
February 10, 2019

Ford Motor Co. is investing $1 billion in its Chicago plants, a boost that the carmaker expects to create 500 new jobs as it prepares to roll out several high-profile additions to its previously stagnant lineup. Additional upgrades will be made to plant facilities, including implementation of 3D printing technology. Ford's EVP of Global Operations, Joe Hinrichs, talked to Cheddar about the announcement, and what to expect from the redesigned Explorer. It was revealed that it is not just Ford Motors but other automakers are also cutting back on producing the traditional cars in favor of the bigger sports utility vehicles and trucks.

The investment will include new body and paint shops at its Chicago assembly plant, new stamping lines at its Chicago stamping plant, new manufacturing equipment, and revamped employee facilities.

Ford was keen to point out in its announcement that the Chicago Assembly expansion will increase its position as "the No. 1 producer of vehicles in the USA and the leading exporter of vehicles from the US, building 2.4 million in 2018, and (employing) the most hourly US autoworkers". "This investment will further strengthen Ford's SUV market leadership", Hinrichs said.

Ford also announced that it would spend $40 million to improve working conditions at the plants, including new team break areas on the plant floor, increased security, better lighting and a renovated cafeteria.

The overhaul of the plants - an assembly plant at 12600 S. Torrence Chicago and a stamping plant in Chicago Heights - is expected to begin in March and be completed in the spring.

Ford investing $1 billion, adding 500 jobs in Chicago factories
Ford investing $1 billion, adding 500 jobs in Chicago factories

Chicago Assembly, located on the city's south side, is Ford's longest continually operating vehicle assembly plan.

The Aviator is due in showrooms this summer and the Interceptor is the top-selling police vehicle in the country.

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 miles per hour. Ford employs the most hourly US autoworkers. Ford estimates the pursuit-rated hybrid police utility will save between $3,500 and $5,700 per vehicle annually in fuel costs versus the current Police Interceptor Utility.

The All-new 2020 Lincoln Aviator will also be built at Chicago Assembly. The Lincoln Aviator will be available globally, entering the highest volume segment in the USA, the midsize luxury market, and the third-highest volume segment in China. Ford is set to bargain a new pact with the UAW later this year.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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