As Ford Dumps Money on Chicago, the Month-old Ranger Sees Its First Recall
Ahead of production of its all-new 2020 Ford Explorer, Police Interceptor Utility, and Lincoln Aviator at the Chicago Assembly plant, Ford is greasing the wheels with a $1 billion cash injection, adding 500 jobs in the process.
The money, destined for both Chicago Assembly and a nearby stamping plant, will ensure three crucial products make it to showrooms and law enforcement fleets by summer. As Ford plays Santa Claus, another important product — one which went on sale just last month — is now under recall.
While 3,500 vehicles is a small number in the recall world, it’s a pretty big chunk of all North American Ford Rangers in existence at this point. Automotive News reports Ford sold 2,153 Rangers in North America last month — the midsize pickup’s first month on the market.
The issue involves the truck’s shifter, which can move out of “park” while the engine is off. The automaker claims “the PRNDL bezel wiring may interfere with the shifter interlock override, preventing the shifter from locking in the park position and allowing the driver to shift the transmission out of park with the vehicle off and without a foot on the brake pedal.”
Of the 3,500 recalled vehicles, some 500 or so are located in Canada. The affected trucks rolled out of Ford’s Michigan Assembly plant between June 4th, 2018, and Jan. 9th, 2019, with the automaker claiming it isn’t aware of any accidents or injuries resulting from the fault.
In happier news, the $1 billion investment in Chicago Assembly sees the plant gain new a body and paint shop, plus upgrades to the final assembly area. Other plant areas (the parking lot and cafeteria, to name two) see upgrades. New stamping lines are coming to Chicago Stamping.
Employment between the two plants should rise to 5,800 workers, and Joe Hinrichs, Ford’s president of global markets, told Bloomberg that hiring is nearly complete.
In an about-face to its previous all-gas Interceptor Utility, the 2020 model gains a hybrid drivetrain as standard equipment, though agencies can choose to go gas-only. The civilian Explorer also gains a hybrid variant, as well as a sportier ST model borrowing its engine from its Aviator platform mate. Lincoln’s new midsize crossover also goes green, though in a more substantial way than its Blue Oval brethren.
The Aviator’s plug-in hybrid variant gains considerable power to go with its all-electric range, with Lincoln positioning it as a performance upgrade.
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