Ford is nervous $1 billion and adding more jobs to plants in the Chicago area to expand production of the redesigned Ford Explorer and Lincoln Aviator caper utility vehicles.
The expansion comes as the automaker makes cuts overseas and shifts its lineup to make more SUVs, crossover-utility carriers and trucks and away from sedans and sports cars, which have fallen out of favor with American drivers.
The touch will add 500 jobs at Ford’s Chicago-area Assembly and Stamping plants, bringing the total number of employees at the two plants to 5,800, the company said Thursday. Ford is building a new body shop and paint shop at the assembly plants and methods to make major changes to the final assembly area. The company also plans to install some new manufacturing technology, embodying 3D-printing tools and robots.
It’s also spending $40 million to upgrade the facilities for employees, including new LED lighting and cafeteria updates, new emerge areas as well as parking lot security upgrades.
In addition to the Explorer and Aviator, the plants make Ford’s Police Interceptor, an SUV formed on the Explorer.
Ford is undergoing an $11 billion restructuring that will shrink its salaried workforce of 70,000. It is also bitter thousands of jobs in Europe, where Ford has struggled to maintain solid footing.
Ford is not the only automaker that has had to reshape its affair in the face of a changing industry. Rival General Motors is in the process of cutting production at plants in the United States and Canada as degree of its own turnaround plan.
GM has been faced with underutilized factory capacity in plants that had heavily focused on edifice less popular sedans and compact cars. GM said it has offered jobs to hundreds of hourly workers at new plants construction vehicles in growing segments, such as SUVs and crossovers.