"As Chicago continues to strengthen our diverse economy, Ford's commitment to add 500 jobs and infuse almost a billion dollars into their Southeast Side assembly plant is a vote of confidence in our people and our future", said Mayor Rahm Emanuel.
In less politically motivated statements, it also pointed out that Chicago Assembly is the company's longest continually operating vehicle assembly plant, having started producing Model T's in 1924.
"As Chicago continues to strengthen our diverse economy, Ford's commitment to infuse almost a billion dollars into their Southeast Side assembly plant is a vote of confidence in our people and our future", commented Mayor Rahm Emanuel.
All three of the all-new vehicles will be available later this year. Completion of the expansion is expected to occur this spring. Hiring began in December, and the plants' transformation will begin in March, expanding the plants' production capacity.
Ford is killing off its slow-selling sedan business in the USA and betting big on the SUVs and trucks that generate most of its profit.
Ford is in the middle of a $11 billion restructuring that has included job cuts in the North America and Europe.
The automaker built almost 2.4 million vehicles in 2018. A Ford spokeswoman said that the improvements were not a response to the reports. Kumar Galhotra, head of Ford's North American operations, told reporters in Detroit last week.
"When it's all finished, Chicago Assembly will have an all-new, state-of-the-art body shop, an all-new paint shop and new tooling to build this new lineup. And the Chicago Stamping Plant will have all new lines to support the new vehicles", Hinrichs said. The upgrade will add a collaborative robot and 3-D printing tools. Ford will also produce its Explorer ST and Explorer Hybrid at the plant. The Dearborn, Mich. -based company faced similar charges at the factories that led to a $17.5 million settlement in 1999.
"We are proud to be America's top producer of automobiles", Joe Hinrichs, President of Global Operations at Ford, said.
The Company also plans to improve employee working conditions by investing Dollars 40 Million in all-new LED lighting, cafeteria updates, new break areas, and security upgrades in the parking lot. In 2017, The New York Times highlighted a history of sexual and racial harassment at the two plants.
"There is absolutely no room for harassment at Ford Motor Company", Hackett wrote, adding for perpetrators: "We don't want you here, and we will move you out for engaging in any behavior like this".