Ford is investing $1 billion toward the development for several of its SUVs for the 2020 model year, including the Ford Explorer, Police Interceptor Utility, and Lincoln Aviator, which will go on sale later this year.
The investment for production at Ford's Chicago Assembly and Stamping plants will occur in tandem with the automaker adding 500 new full-time jobs, which will bring total employment at the two plants to roughly 5,800, according to Ford. This development is designed to expand capacity for production of the SUVs. Production of the Ford Explorer will include the Explorer ST and Explorer Hybrid.
With the investment, Ford is building an all-new body shop and paint shop at Chicago Assembly, and making major modifications to the final assembly area, the automaker said in a release. At Chicago Stamping, the company is adding all-new stamping lines in preparation for the 2020 Ford Explorer, Police Interceptor Utility and Lincoln Aviator.
Advanced manufacturing technologies at the plants include a collaborative robot with a camera that inspects electrical connections during the manufacturing process, according to Ford. In addition, several 3D printed tools will be installed to help employees build these vehicles with even higher quality for customers.
The developments of this transition will begin March 2019.