Ford To Upgrade Chicago Plant For SUVs, Hire 450 Workers

Ford Motor Company said on Monday it would invest $50 million upgrading a Chicago facility to partially assemble hybrid electric SUVs and vehicles for police use, creating 450 jobs. The plant currently modifies vehicles for police use. That work will be transferred to a nearby facility. After retooling, the new production line will later this year start partially assembling hybrid versions of the Ford Explorer sport utility vehicle and the luxury Lincoln Aviator Grand Touring SUV.

It will also partially assemble the Police Interceptor SUV. On Friday, Ford said it would lay off about 200 workers in September at a Canadian manufacturing plant in Oakville, Ontario, with more layoffs possible in January, because of slowing sales of the sedans that the plant manufactures. Overall, U.S. new vehicle sales are expected to fall this year, although pickup trucks and SUVs remain more popular than traditional passenger cars.

Last week, Ford also kicked off talks on a new four-year contract with the United Auto Workers union, with job security, healthcare costs and the use of temporary workers expected to be major sticking points.

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