Ford Motor Co. in Dearborn plans to invest $1 billion in its Chicago Assembly and Stamping plants, adding 500 jobs as it prepares to launch the Ford Explorer, Lincoln Aviator, and Police Interceptor SUVs.
The three vehicles offer lighter, leaner, and stronger construction, more efficient engines, and added smart technology.
The plant transformation will begin in March be completed in early spring. The additional jobs will bring total employment at the two plants to about 5,800 workers.
Ford is building an all-new body shop and paint shop at Chicago Assembly and making major modifications to the final assembly area. At Chicago Stamping, the company is adding new stamping lines in preparation for the new vehicles. Advanced manufacturing technologies at the plants include a collaborative robot with a camera that inspects electrical connections as well as 3-D printed tools.
“We are furthering our commitment to America with this billion-dollar manufacturing investment in Chicago and 500 more good-paying jobs,” says Joe Hinrichs, president of global operations at Ford. “We reinvented the Explorer from the ground up, and this investment will further strengthen Ford’s SUV market leadership.”
The company is making other improvements at the plant by dedicating $40 million to new LED lighting, cafeteria updates, new break areas, and parking-lot security upgrades.
“As Chicago continues to strengthen our diverse economy, Ford’s commitment to add 500 jobs and infuse nearly a billion dollars into their southeast side assembly plant is a vote of confidence in our people and our future,” says Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel. “The assembly plant is a local and regional economic engine where iconic American brands like the Lincoln Aviator and Ford Explorer are built.”
Chicago Assembly is Ford’s longest continually operating vehicle assembly plant. It started producing the Model T in 1924 and was converted to war production during World War II.