Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel sat behind the wheel of Ford’s brand new, shiny Police Interceptor SUV testing all the bells and whistles. It’s the same vehicle that the mayor saw at the Chicago Auto Show recently. He loved it so much he wanted some for the city. That’s why the city’s spending $3.5 million on an initial purchase of 100 of the sleek new Ford Interceptor vehicles that comes in both a sports utility vehicle and sedan. The city’s police force will be getting a combination of both.
Emanuel said not only did Ford provide the best price during a recent bid process, but it makes sense for the city to invest in the plant.
“We not only have the cars built here in Chicago, designed here in Chicago, we’re going to put our money where our mouth is,” Emanuel said at the Ford Assembly Plant on Chicago’s far South Side where he mixed and mingled with employee on their lunch break and toured the assembly line in action. “We’re going to order the cars here from this plant. We have the best workers, hardest workers. This plant is the best exporting plant for the Ford company for all the factories that they have.”
Last fall, Ford plant officials announced that nearly 1,200 new jobs and a third shift were being created at the Torrence Avenue plant. Some 230 jobs were created specifically to support the production of the new Interceptor.
But the city also invested $13 million outside the plant in street and water retention upgrades at Torrence and 130th Street.
“We made a series of investments to make sure that this facility stays competitive,” Emanuel said, noting that the Ford plant is the oldest in Ford’s company. “This is a win for the taxpayers; a win for the workers; a win for the community on the South Side of Chicago that produces this and a win for the Ford workers who work here at a great plant doing great work.”
The city will eventually purchase a total of 500 vehicles over the next five years at a cost of $3.5 million per year.
Jan Allman, plant manager at Ford’s Assembly Plant, gave Emanuel a tour of the plant. She said Friday marked the first day the company started to ship the vehicle, offering fuel-efficient powertrain options and all-wheel drive.
The Interceptor replaces the Crown Victoria, which ended production last year.
“The city’s announcement of purchasing the police vehicles today is the largest first commitment entry to date,” Allman said. “We want to really personally thank the mayor as well as the City of Chicago. This is very exciting for us. It shows the commitment the city has in supporting jobs in Chicago.”