Ford announced today that it will invest $1 billion to expand its Chicago Assembly and Stamping plants, adding 500 full-time jobs.
The expansion will allow for the production of three SUVs—the 2020 models of the Ford Explorer (ST and Hybrid), Lincoln Aviator and Police Interceptor Utility. The work will be completed in the spring.
With the expansion, total employment at the two plants will be approximately 5,800.
Plant improvements include new body and paint shops and Chicago Assembly and major changes to the final assembly area there. Chicago Stamping will receive new stamping lines. Plants will also be outfitted with advanced manufacturing technologies including a collaborative robot that inspects electrical connections and several 3D printing tools.
“Today we are furthering our commitment to America with this billion dollar manufacturing investment in Chicago and 500 more good-paying jobs,” Joe Hinrichs, Ford president, global operations, said in a statement. “This investment will further strengthen Ford’s SUV market leadership.”
Employee-related improvements total $40 million and include new LED lighting, cafeteria updates, new break areas, and security upgrades in the parking lot.
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel in a statement called the investment “a testament to the strength and vibrancy of Chicago’s manufacturing sector, and I look forward to Ford’s presence in our city for generations to come."
Chicago Assembly, located on the city’s South Side, is Ford’s longest continually operating vehicle assembly plan. The factory started producing the Model T in 1924 and was converted to war production during World War II.