Ford Debuts Explorer Redesign in Millennium Park

Ford promises jobs and better fuel efficiency

By Mary Ann Ahern
|  Monday, Jul 26, 2010  |  Updated 8:10 PM CDT
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Music was blaring at Millennium Park on Monday as Ford rolled out its new Explorer, which will be built at a South Side plant.

Music was blaring at Millennium Park on Monday as Ford rolled out its new Explorer, which will be built at a South Side plant.

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Music was blaring at Millennium Park on Monday as Ford rolled out its new Explorer, which will be built at a South Side plant.

Union workers, car dealers and politicians alike cheered the planned overhaul of one of the most popular SUVs ever.

"I want to be one of the first ones to buy the new Explorer," UAW Leader Jimmy Saddles said at the Millennium Park unveiling.  

The new model Explorer borrows design elements from the Land Rover, a former Ford division, and will be built on a Taurus chassis at the Torrence Avenue plant.

Ford executives the new model will offer 20 percent better fuel efficiency than the 2010 model. Other features include intelligent four-wheel drive, a Ford EcoBoost V6 engine and better noise cancellation.

“Crafting a high-quality vehicle is like preparing a gourmet meal,” Peter Bejin, craftsmanship supervisor for Ford said in a press release. “You start with high-quality ingredients, execute your recipe with flawless preparation and finally, present it with flair and panache.”

The new model is big business for Chicago. The increased production means 1,200 jobs will head toward Chicago -- 600 of those jobs will be offered to workers from a plant in Missouri first.

"We are committed as a city to rebuild our infrastructure and to rebuild our manufacturing," Mayor Richard Daley said.

The Explorer news is so big it's even drawing the interest of the president.

President Obama will tour the Torrence Avenue plant in August.  A Department of Energy loan offered incentive to the automaker to invest in more energy-efficient vehicles.

The president will also tour a Chrysler plant in Detroit, and a GM plant in Hamtramck, Michigan on July 30.

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