Ford Motor Co. (F – Get Report) announced at the 2019 Chicago Auto Show Thursday it was planning to invest $1 billion into its Chicago manufacturing and stamping plants., and boosting headcount by 8%. The shares fell 4.7%.
The investment will add 500 jobs, helping the automaker expand capacity to produce several new sport utility vehicles that will hit the market in the summer. The all-new SUVs that Ford will produce are the Ford Explorer, Explorer Hybrid, Lincoln Aviator, and the Police Interceptor Utility. There are currently 4,500 workers at the Chicago assembly plant and 1,300 at the Chicago stamping plant.
The upgraded facilities will be more efficient than in the past, as the investment dollars will go toward advanced manufacturing technologies and better workforce training for employees. The advanced tech includes a robot with a camera that collaborates with other parts of the operation to inspect the electrical connections during the manufacturing process. There will also be considerable modifications to the assembly area.
“Today, we are furthering our commitment to America with this billion dollar manufacturing investment in Chicago and 500 more good-paying jobs,” said Joe Hinrichs, Ford’s president of global operations. “We reinvented the Explorer from the ground up, and this investment will further strengthen Ford’s SUV market leadership.”
“As Chicago continues to strengthen our diverse economy, Ford’s commitment to add 500 jobs and infuse nearly a billion dollars into their Southeast Side assembly plant is a vote of confidence in our people and our future,” said Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel.
Part of the investment is aimed at improving the environment at the plants as $40 million will go into improved lighting in the facilities as well as cafeteria improvements and new break areas.