As said before, the investments in the plants and the hiring of 500 workers will make way for Ford to manufacture units of newly designed Ford Explorer, Explorer Hybrid, Lincoln Aviator and the Police Interceptor.
Set to build an updated body shop and paint shop at Chicago Assembly, as well as major modifications to the final assembly area will bring a number of advantages to the business.
The overhaul of the plants - an assembly plant at 12600 S. Torrence Ave.in Chicago and a stamping plant in Chicago Heights - is expected to begin in March and be completed in the spring.
According to CNBC, Ford will put the money in two facilities specified as the assembly and stamping plants in Chicago. At Chicago Stamping, Ford is adding all-new stamping lines in preparation for the 2020 Ford Explorer, Police Interceptor Utility and Lincoln Aviator. "Ford's investment announcement demonstrates a commitment to the dedication of UAW members in Chicago". Additional upgrades will be made to plant facilities, including implementation of 3D printing technology.
The production of three new SUVs will add to Ford's output in the United States. Ford says it built almost 2.4 million vehicles in 2018, and employed the most hourly US autoworkers.
Ed Kim, vice president for industry analysis at AutoPacific, an auto industry research firm in suburban Los Angeles, said "the investment being made in the plants reflects that the level of sophistication in the vehicles being built there is going up".
"We are proud to be America's top producer of automobiles. Today, we are furthering our commitment to America with this billion-dollar manufacturing investment", said Joe Hinrichs, President, Global Operations.
Ford's redesigned Aviator and Explorers come as the automaker, as well as competitors like General Motors and Fiat Chrysler, shift away from sedans in favor of the SUVs and light trucks that have taken a larger share of the automotive market in the past decade. Ford says the new model features lighter, leaner and stronger construction, with more powerful and efficient EcoBoost engines. Ford is expanding the SUV's profile, offering the sportier performance ST model, which will have as much as 400 horsepower and 415 lb. -ft. of torque, with a top speed of 143 miles per hour.
The all-new Explorer Hybrid SUV created to offer performance and capability in a fuel-efficient package and is projected to return an EPA-estimated range of more than 500 miles between fill-ups in the rear-wheel-drive model.