Ford announces $1 billion investment in Chicago plants, 500 new jobs

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Ford Motor Company announced Thursday that is investing $1 billion and adding hundreds of jobs at its plants in Chicago.

Ford made the announcement one day before the start of the Chicago Auto Show, where the company will introduce three new SUVs. Ford says they will be adding 500 jobs at its South Side plants, bringing the total workforce between the two to 5,800.

The updates at the Chicago Assembly and Stamping Plants will begin in March, including an all-new body shop and paint shop at the assembly plant and an all-new stamping line at the stamping plant.

Ford is spending $40 million to make the plants better places to work, with new LED lighting, cafeteria updates, new break areas and parking lot security upgrades.
The new 2020 Ford Explorer will be built in Chicago, as well as the Lincoln Aviator and Police Interceptor Utility.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel was pleased about the hundreds of new jobs that will result from the announcement.

"Where they are cutting jobs other places, they're doubling down on their investment in the city of Chicago and job creation," he said.

The company is ending the production of its Taurus sedan, however, as executive editor Joe Wiesenfelder says SUVs see continued growth. Industry experts say U.S. industry car sales fell 13 percent last year, while light trucks rose 8 percent.

"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 of global operations at Ford. "We reinvented the Explorer from the ground up, and this investment will further strengthen Ford's SUV market leadership.
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