Today, a newly released study by Boston Consulting Group (BCG) spotlights Ford longstanding commitment to building vehicles in Chicago and its contributions to the Illinois economy, including $6.8 billion to the state GDP and more than 60,000 direct and indirect jobs in the state.
“Ford is proud to serve as a key contributor to the Chicagoland economy for more than a century,” said John Savona, vice president, North America Manufacturing for Ford Motor Company. “While other manufacturers moved out of the city over the years, Ford has doubled down on Chicago, investing $1 billion to modernize our operations and build some of our most iconic vehicles, including America’s best-selling mid-size SUV, the Ford Explorer, along with the Lincoln Aviator and Police Interceptor SUV.”
Ford’s legacy in Chicago dates back to 1905, when the company opened its first branch office. Eight years later, Ford’s first local manufacturing plant opened in what is now the Bronzeville area, where a team of just 500 assembled approximately 175 vehicles daily. One hundred years ago, Ford purchased land along the Calumet River in South Chicago and broke ground on what would become Ford’s Chicago Assembly Plant. That facility, Ford’s oldest continuously operating assembly 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 manufacturing and stamping plants to expand capacity for the production of the all-new Ford Explorer, Explorer Hybrid, Police Interceptor Utility and Lincoln Aviator at its Chicago Assembly Plant. With its introduction in 1990, the Chicago-built Ford Explorer helped redefine the SUV segment and 30 years later is America’s best-selling mid-size SUV with a 15 percent retail share of segment as of Q3 2020.
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 Chicago Stamping plants on Chicago’s south side. 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.
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. Nationally, Ford supports roughly 1 million American jobs and filters $100 billion into the U.S. GDP.
Last month, Ford kicked off its “Built for America” brand campaign highlighting the company’s unique position as the top assembler of vehicles in America and largest employer of U.S. hourly autoworkers. The Ford F-Series plays an instrumental role in driving that economic impact. According to BCG, the F-Series is among the most valuable consumer goods in the U.S., generating more revenue than major companies such as McDonalds (U.S.), Nike, Coca-Cola and Netflix. Its flagship vehicle, the Ford F-150, is the most popular vehicle on the road in 39 out of 50 states, including Illinois.
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.”