Chicago Auto Show Blog

Built in Chicago. Good for Chicago.

Posted by: Mark Bilek

Many of you may not know it, but the only auto manufacturing plant located within the city limits is Ford's Chicago Assembly Plant on Torrance Ave. Ford broke ground on that plant 100 years ago and it is the oldest continually operating manufacturing facility with the Blue Oval empire. Over the years, the plant has produced some of the company's most iconic vehicles including the Model T, Model A, Thunderbird, Taurus and today's Ford Explorer.


In 2019, Ford invested $1 billion in its Chicago Assembly Plant to expand capacity for the production of the all-new Explorer, Explorer Hybrid, Police Interceptor Utility and Lincoln Aviator. A newly released study by Boston Consulting Group underscores the substantial role Ford plays in creating jobs both in Chicago and across Illinois. Ford employs 7,100 people at its Chicago Assembly and Stamping Plants. The company's manufacturing operations support an additional 23,000 supplier and community jobs, with Ford's economic impact in Chicago totaling $2.9 billion.

As a company, Ford works with 319 suppliers across Illinois, and its combined production and non-production purchases in Illinois exceed $2.2 billion annually. Its statewide dealership network is more than 150 strong, supporting 6,700 direct employees and another 5,500 indirect dealer supplier and community jobs. According to the Boston Consulting Group study, Ford supports roughly 1 million American jobs and filters $100 billion into the U.S. GDP.


Beyond economic contributions, Ford is stepping up to meet the needs of communities across the country. Ford and its UAW partners quickly ramped up production of personal protective equipment to protect health care workers, first responders and patients fighting COVID-19. Since March, Ford has produced nearly 60 million face masks, over 20 million face shields, 50,000 patient ventilators, 32,000 respirators and 1.6 million washable isolation gowns.

In partnership with its philanthropic arm, the Ford Motor Company Fund, local Ford dealerships and nonprofit partners, Ford has distributed more than 3.2 million disposable face masks to Illinois communities since September. This week, more than a dozen Chicago-area Ford dealerships are distributing an additional 200,000 face masks to schools, nonprofits and first responders in their communities.


"We are incredibly grateful for our dedicated Ford and UAW colleagues working to manufacture personal protective equipment for our communities," said John Hennessy, owner of River View Ford in Oswego and former chairman of the Chicago Auto Show. "Whether we're distributing face masks to our customers and neighbors or raising money for our local schools through a Drive 4 UR School fundraiser, our network of Ford dealerships will continue serving and strengthening the communities we call home."

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