Ford to produce new Explorer SUV at Chicago assembly plant

Ford Motor said that it will produce the next-generation Explorer SUV at it's Chicago Assembly Plant

The company is investing $400m in this project. It will also add 1,200 new jobs to staff a second production shift at Chicago Assembly Plant and increase production at the Chicago Stamping Plant.

According to Ford, Explorer will be built at Chicago Assembly Plant on an assembly line alongside new Taurus and Lincoln MKS sedans. Ford's investment includes approximately $180m in manufacturing at Chicago sites and about $220m for launch and engineering costs. In addition, it will also invest in supplier tooling to support Explorer production.

Mark Fields, president of the Americas at Ford, said: "The new Explorer will redefine the SUV for the modern era-retaining the capability customers want while delivering superb fuel efficiency, comfort and convenience. This investment underscores Ford's commitment to building world-class, fuel-efficient vehicles in America and creating new jobs that will contribute to our nation's economic recovery."

The new Explorer is expected to deliver at least 25 per cent better fuel economy than current model. It features unibody construction, ecoboost engine technology, six-speed transmission and lightweight materials.

In addition, the new model offers inflatable seat belts designed to provide additional protection for rear-seat occupants. The inflatable rear seat belts spread crash forces over five times more area of body than conventional seat belts, which helps to reduce pressure on chest and to control head and neck motion for rear-seat passengers.