Ford Motor stated on Thursday it is investing over $1 billion in its Chicago operations and adding 500 jobs as it plans to launch three new SUVs this year and stop producing the Taurus.
Ford stated it is constructing a new body shop and paint shop at its Chicago Assembly plant, and making significant modifications to the final assembly area. At Chicago Stamping, Ford is adding stamping lines, the company stated.
The investment is taking place as Americans are shifting away from cars in favor of SUVs, pickup trucks and other bigger vehicles. In 2018, U.S. industry car sales dropped 13 percent, where as light trucks increased 8 percent to 10.9 million, representing about 63 percent of vehicle sales.
Ford declared last year it was largely leaving the sedan market in the United States with the exception of the Ford Mustang. The company’s U.S. car sales dropped 18 percent last year, while SUV sales increased 0.5 percent.
The Chicago assembly plant is going to stop building the Ford Taurus at this end of this month as it increases SUV production. Ford stated in 2018 that it was ending North American production of cars such as the Focus, Fusion, Fiesta and C-Max.
The full-size Taurus, when launched in 1985, was credited with reviving profits at the automaker. It redefined U.S. car design and was the top-selling model in the country for five times between 1992 and 1997. U.S. Taurus sales, which peaked at 409,000 in 1992, dropped to 28,706 last year.
Ford built almost 2.4 million vehicles in the United States in last year.