Sales of the Calumet Region-made Ford Explorer SUV dropped by 5.4 percent in February as Ford's overall sales declined by 6.9 percent to 194,132 vehicles.
The Dearborn, Michigan-based automaker has sold 342,165 Ford-brand vehicles so far this year, a decline of 5.4 percent. Lincoln-brand sales are down even further, plunging by 25.2 percent.
“Our higher trim level vehicles are really resonating with our customers, who are looking for more content and technology than ever before. This is especially true of our trucks and SUVs," said Mark LaNeve, Ford vice president of U.S. Marketing, Sales and Service. "Our all-new Ford Expedition and Lincoln Navigator are moving fast, as we work to increase our output to keep up with our customers’ passion for these two vehicles.”
Locally, Ford makes the Explorer, the Taurus, the Police Interceptor Utility and the Police Interceptor Sedan at the Chicago Assembly Plant just across the state line in Hegewisch, which borders Hammond.
In February, Ford sold 18,106 Explorers, as compared to 19,145 in February 2017. The SUV accounts for most of the production at the sprawling 2.8 million-square-foot Ford plant on the banks of the Calumet River, which is serviced by local suppliers such as the Lear Corp. seat factory in Hammond.
So far this year, Explorer sales have dropped by 3.9 percent.
Taurus sales declined by 36.9 percent to 2,530 units in February, down from 4,008 units in February 2017. Sales of the Police Interceptor Sedan, a souped-up version of the Taurus, dropped by 12.9 percent last month, though the Police Interceptor Utility SUV saw an 8 percent gain to 2,754 units sold.
Ford employs more than 5,000 workers at the Chicago Assembly Plant and at the Chicago Stamping Plant in Chicago Heights.