Our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy have changed.

By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to the new Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.

Ford to add 1,200 workers in Chicago

By Ben Rooney, staff reporter


NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- Ford Motor said Tuesday it will hire 1,200 workers in Illinois as part of a $400 million plan to ramp up production of next year's Explorer.

The automaker said it expects to fill the full-time jobs at its Chicago Assembly and Chicago Stamping plants by the end of the year.

2011_ford_explorer.03.jpg
The 2011 Ford Explorer will be manufactured in Chicago, where 1,200 workers will be hired.

"Our Chicago Assembly Plant -- with its excellent work force, lean and flexible manufacturing processes, and proud history of making great Ford vehicles -- is the ideal choice for building the new Explorer," Jim Tetreault, Ford's vice president of North America manufacturing, said in a statement.

The expansion comes as the nation's automakers look to recover from a dramatic plunge in sales, which fell to a 27-year low last year. But the new workers will probably not make as much as they would have in previous years.

Under union contracts signed in 2007, the major U.S. automakers are able to pay newly hired workers significantly less than their veteran factory workers. The contracts also allow automakers to give reduced health and pension benefits to new hires.

In accordance with its United Auto Workers contract, Ford will first extend job offers to employees it placed on "indefinite layoff" before hiring new workers, said company spokeswoman Marcey Evans. But she could not comment on how much the workers will be paid.

Ford said its investment includes $180 million for manufacturing at the Chicago sites and about $220 million for launch and engineering costs.

Ford already manufactures the Taurus and Lincoln MKS sedans at the Chicago plant, where it employs about 1,200 workers on one shift. The new workers will be added to a second shift.

The new Explorer, which will go into production during the fourth quarter, will be 25% more fuel efficient than previous model years, Ford said.

Ford currently makes the Explorer at the company's Louisville Assembly Plant in Kentucky. That plant will be retooled to make smaller, more fuel-efficient cars.

Tuesday's announcement comes two days before Ford reports its fourth-quarter financial results. Analysts surveyed by Thomson Financial expect the Dearborn, Mich.-based company to post a profit of 26 cents per share, versus a loss of $1.37 a year earlier.

In the third quarter, the only major U.S. automaker not to file for bankruptcy earned a surprise profit of $997 million, or 29 cents a share.

Ford said in November that it expects to be "solidly profitable" in 2011.

Meanwhile, Ford said it received state tax incentives for businesses that commit to new investments and create or retain jobs in the state.

Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn, who is up for election this year, hailed the new jobs, saying the expansion "has provided much needed relief to our state's ailing automotive industry." To top of page

Find Your Next Car
Index Last Change % Change
Dow 17,751.39 121.12 0.69%
Nasdaq 5,111.73 22.53 0.44%
S&P 500 2,108.57 15.32 0.73%
Treasuries 2.28 0.03 1.29%
Data as of 8:16am ET
Company Price Change % Change
Bank of America Corp... 18.16 0.28 1.57%
Facebook Inc 96.99 1.70 1.78%
Ford Motor Co 15.21 0.53 3.61%
Pfizer Inc 35.76 0.41 1.16%
AT&T Inc 34.69 0.36 1.05%
Data as of Jul 29
Sponsors

Sections

Amazon has signed Jeremy Clarkson and his fellow former co-hosts of global TV hit Top Gear to present a new car show on Amazon. More

Republicans have their first 2016 debate on August 6. They're digging into economic stats to criticize Obama. More

Cortana's jokes come from a team of writers hired by Microsoft to give the digital assistant a personality. More

Fast-food chains that operate in more than 30 locations nationwide are the sole target of a new rule in New York to hike their minimum wage to $15. But consumers and small business owners, as well as some employees, may be the ones to pay the price. More

You can't blame it on the economy anymore. More Millennials now have jobs, but are still living at home. More