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Ford Debuts New Explorer, Obama to Visit Plant Next Week

By Kevin Robinson in News on Jul 27, 2010 4:00PM

Ford Motor Company, which has an assembly plant on Chicago's South side and a stamping plant in Ford Heights, unveiled the new Ford Explorer Monday afternoon with much fanfare. While the launch of the newly redesigned Ford Explorer has been anticipated among car aficionados for some time, the big story in Chicago is the employment impact building the car here will have on the local economy. Ford will be adding 1,200 workers to it's local payroll to handle production, which is expected to start in November. Mayor Daley, poet laureate of the City of Big Shoulders, summed it up to Crain's, saying “New jobs are being created. Overtime is being created... In America, people want a job.” Echoing that sentiment, Bill Ford Jr., executive chairman and great-grandson of founder Henry Ford said that while his company has experienced four quarters of growth, he's still feeling cautious about the market. “Overall, the car market isn’t as healthy as it was two years ago. So far in July, though, early sales look good,” he told the Sun-Times, adding that “we’ve got to get the economy moving again for all of our sakes.”

President Barack Obama is in the region this week and next to discuss the economy. Obama is visiting GM and Chrysler plants in Michigan, where he's highlighting his administration's decision to help save the American auto companies, and the impact that's made on putting people back to work. "The president believes that the decisions that we made around the auto industry are a parable for where we are economically. We had to make some tough and even unpopular decisions but those decisions are laying a new foundation for economic growth and a brighter future," White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said. Obama will also visit Chicago's Ford plant the following week, highlighting the economic impact of building a new vehicle here in Chicago. According to news reports, nearly 500 additional jobs will be created among parts suppliers locally, including Lear Seating in Hammond, Indiana.