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Ford to Upgrade Chicago Plant to Produce SUVs, Hiring 450 Workers

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【Summary】On Monday, the Ford Motor Co said it would invest $50 million upgrading a Chicago facility to partially assemble hybrid electric SUVs and vehicles for police use, adding 450 jobs.

FutureCar Staff    Jul 22, 2019 4:05 PM PT
Ford to Upgrade Chicago Plant to Produce SUVs, Hiring 450 Workers
The Ford Police Interceptor Utility will be built at the Chicago plant.

Just as sedans have fallen out of favor with consumers in the U.S, law enforcement agencies nationwide are also switching from sedans to SUVs, including the popular Ford Police Interceptor SUV, which itself is a modified version of Ford's Explorer.

On Monday, the Ford Motor Co said it would invest $50 million upgrading a Chicago facility to partially assemble hybrid electric SUVs and vehicles for police use, adding 450 jobs.

The plant currently modifies Ford production vehicles for police use. Ford will move this work to a nearby facility and retool its Chicago plant for vehicle production. 

After retooling, the new production line will later this year start partially assembling the Police Interceptor SUV, hybrid versions of the Ford Explorer and the luxury Lincoln Aviator Grand Touring SUV. 

Ford and other automakers are experiencing a steady decline in sedan sales as customer opt for SUVs and crossovers. In the second quarter of this year, Ford reported a 21.4% drop is sedan sales compared to the same period last year, while total pickup sales, including the popular F-150, rose 7.5% in the same period, the strongest numbers in 15 years. 

Ford announced on Friday that it would lay off about 200 workers in September at a Canadian manufacturing plant in Oakville, Ontario, with more layoffs possible in January,  as a result of slowing sales of the sedans that the plant manufactures. Ford has built vehicles at the plant since 1953.

Sales of Ford Police Interceptor Utility rose 5 percent in 2018, capping off five straight years of sales growth. Ford's Interceptor Utility accounts for 65 percent of the total U.S. police vehicle market.

Overall, U.S. new vehicle sales are expected to fall this year, although pickup trucks and SUVs remain more popular than traditional passenger cars.


resource from: Reuters

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