The new Explorer will be produced in Ford's assembly plant on the city's South Side. Twelve hundred new jobs will be added to the plant and several hundred more employees will be needed for Ford suppliers around the country, including the stamping plant in Ford Heights.
Ford's history in Chicago goes back to 1903 when the first Ford was sold to a Chicago dentist. Ford Chairman Bill Ford calls the new Ford Explorer the company's greatest reinvention yet.
While the SUV made its debut downtown, the Explorer will be built at Ford's South Side assembly plant, where the workforce will double as a second shift is added to make the Explorers.
"The way the economy is these days not having to be laid off is a great thing," said Dennis Jones, UAW worker.
"For me, I don't have to think about be transferred again. We will have a lot of work for a long time," said Noel Canchola, UAW worker.
Ford executives are hoping the new Explorer is the symbol for a new Ford. The company has rebuilt its car lineup in recent years by working out deals with the unions and by being the only U.S. auto company to refuse government bailout money.
"There is no magic to it. It was hard work we had a plan. We didn't deviate from it. It is now paying off," said Bill Ford Jr.
Bill Ford is counting on the new Explorer to pay off the same way it did in the early 1990s when the old, boxy Explorer launched the SUV boom. With a sticker price of $28,995, the new Explorer is a lighter, more fuel efficient crossover vehicle with inflatable rear seat belts and state of the art technology.
"More important to us is the value created on resale… value, Ford as a brand has improved resale more than any other make in the past year," said Jim Farley, Ford marketing chief.
Some car experts have great expectations for the reinvented Explorer.
"This automobile is going to be very hot for the ford motor company," said Rich Szatkowski, Motor City Madness Radio Show.
The new Explorer will be in showrooms by winter. Ford is counting on the latest trend for more fuel efficient vehicles instead of drivers who want power.
The South Side Ford plant will hire laid-off union workers and transfer employees before hiring new workers.