Ford Motor Company said Thursday that it will invest $1 billion in its Chicago-area manufacturing operations to expand production of its Ford Explorer and Lincoln Aviator sport utility vehicles.
The announcement, made at the Chicago Auto Show, will add 500 jobs to two manufacturing facilities, the assembly plant and stamping plant, said Joe Hinrichs, Ford’s president of global operations. The expansion will bring the total number of workers at its Chicago-area facilities to 5,800.
The overhaul of the plant is expected to begin in March and be completed in the spring.
Included will be a new body shop and paint shop at Chicago Assembly, and new stamping lines that will make the 2020 Ford Explorer, Police Interceptor Utility and Lincoln Aviator.
It’s also spending $40 million to upgrade the facilities for employees, including new LED lighting and cafeteria updates, new break areas as well as parking lot security upgrades.
In addition to the Explorer and Aviator, the plants make Ford’s Police Interceptor, an SUV modeled on the Explorer.
Ford is undergoing an $11 billion restructuring that will shrink its salaried workforce of 70,000. It is also cutting thousands of jobs in Europe, where Ford has struggled to maintain solid footing.