Ford to add 1,200 jobs at Chicago plant to build 2011 ExplorerMon, 25 Jan 2010 00:00:00 -0800
Ford plans to add 1,200 jobs when it begins making the Explorer sport-utility vehicle later this year in Chicago.
The announcement is expected Tuesday morning at the plant. Plans to bring the Explorer from Louisville, Ky., to the underutilized Chicago plant have been known for nearly a year.
Adding the Explorer probably will mean bringing a second shift back to the Chicago plant, which has been down to one shift for the past year. The factory now employs about 1,400 workers.
Ford is spending hundreds of millions of dollars in Illinois to launch the new Explorer model that will be built there. The automaker has been retrofitting the plant for months.
The Explorer, one of Ford's most popular vehicles, has been redesigned for a smaller, more fuel-efficient car unibody platform produced at the Chicago plant. The new Explorer is expected to go on sale in the new model year starting in August or September and likely would be the plant's highest-volume vehicle.
The 2011 Explorer is based on the Explorer America concept shown at the 2008 Detroit auto show. It is expected to maintain a square shape to keep it distinctive from the Flex and Edge crossovers. The Explorer is expected to continue to offer towing and off-road capabilities. It's also expected to a get a version of Ford's EcoBoost engine.
Last year, the plant began making the redesigned Taurus.
Crain's columnist Greg Hinz contributed to this report.
By John Pletz- Crain