Ford’s Chicago factory building new hybrid police vehicle

Ford plans to build and outfit a new hybrid “pursuit-rated” police vehicle at its assembly plant on the Far South Side, the company has announced.

The Torrence Avenue factory also will outfit a second hybrid vehicle that will be built elsewhere and modified in Chicago to make it suitable for law enforcement worldwide.

There are no details yet on the vehicle models, when production might start or if the plant will require more workers to make it, said Ford spokeswoman Kelli Felker.

The additional work here comes as Ford has scrapped plans to build a new $1.6 billion factory in Mexico. Instead, the company will add 700 jobs at a plant in Michigan as it invests in new electric and self-driving vehicles.

Ford’s Torrence Avenue plant employs more than 4,200 workers and primarily manufactures the Taurus and Explorer.

Another 1,335 work at a stamping plant in Chicago Heights that makes body panels.

A mile and a half from Torrence Avenue is the company’s Troy Design & Manufacturing facility, where the Explorer is converted into the Police Interceptor Utility. Combined with the Interceptor Sedan, based on a Taurus body, Ford holds 55 percent of the market for law enforcement vehicles.

Chris Pena, president of United Auto Workers Local 551, which represents employees at the Torrence Avenue factory, did not return a message seeking comment. But on Facebook, the local shared the news with its members along with the hashtag, #OurFutureIsLookingBrighter.

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