On Thursday, the Ford Motor Co said it will hire 500 workers and invest $1 billion in its Chicago assembly operations to help keep up with increased demand for sport and crossover-utility vehicles. Ford’s announcement comes shortly after the announcement that rival GM in laying off 4,000 workers. Ford announced last fall that part of their $11 billion restructuring includes dropping all passenger car models except the iconic Mustang. It is shifting resources to light trucks, like those it is building in the Chicago.
The Chicago Assembly and Stamping Plants currently build both the full-size Taurus sedan and Explorer SUV. The Taurus will be dropped as part of Ford’s move out of passenger cars, but the Explorer is growing in popularity. The investment plan will allow Ford to expand capacity for the Explorer as well as the new Explorer Police Interceptor it is launching.The all-new Lincoln Aviator, a big, three-row sedan, will also be produced in Chicago.
However, not all the money will go into machine technology; Ford is planning to devote $40 million of the investment to make the plants “better places to work” by improving lighting, bathroom and cafeterias. It will also upgrade security in plant parking lots.
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