2011 Ford Explorer: Revamped SUV plans helps manufacturer create 1,200 jobs in Chicago

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Providing another key example of the rebounding automotive industry, Ford Motor Company will create 1,200 jobs in its Chicago, Ill., plant to help facilitate the production later this year of the revamped 2011 Ford Explorer.

“Tomorrow, in one day, we’re going to get 1,200 new jobs for Illinois,” Illinois Governor Pat Quinn told the Associated Press.

According to several news reports, Ford wants the new Explorer to become “greener.”

The fuel economy of the Explorer will increase and CO2 emissions should be reduced by as much as 25 percent.

The Explorer is an integral part of Ford’s lineup. But it’s no longer the sales magnet of yesteryear. During the SUV boom in 2000, the Explorer had sales of 445,000, and it averaged sales of 412,000 from 1995 to 2004. But sales of the Explorer fell 35 percent in 2009 to only 52,190 units. It’s currently manufactured in Louisville, Ky.

The new Explorer will no longer have a truck frame, but will feature a Ford Taurus sedan platform. The truck will include the introduction of two new engines, a 2.0 liter turbocharged four-cylinder with Ecoboost, and a 3.5-liter, turbocharged V6.

The Ford Explorer preview of the vehicle revealed a striking difference from the current Explorer. The dimensions of the new model will be 15.7 feet (length), 6.5 feet (width) 5.5 feet (height).

The current Ford Explorer has a nearly two-inch longer wheelbase, is two inches longer overall, nearly six inches wider and three inches shorter.

The 2011 Explorer America (Concept), according to the manufacturer, will also be lighter by an unspecified amount than the 2010 Explorer V6.

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