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The Police Interceptor Utility and Sedan that are made at the Chicago Assembly Plant in Hegewisch gained six points of market share in the first six months of this year, the third straight year of gains.

The two police vehicles – which are souped-up versions of the Explorer and Taurus – now have 61 percent of the market share, up more than 20 percentage points over the last three years. The Police Interceptor Utility was introduced in 2012 after Ford phased out the iconic Crown Victoria.

"It's been amazing to watch the transition from the Crown Victoria, which was universally loved and trusted, to the new Police Interceptor Sedan and Utility lineup," North American Fleet General Marketing Manager Raj Sarkar said.

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"Before Michigan State Police and Los Angeles County Sheriff’s tests dispelled any doubts about the performance of the new vehicles, we had dipped below 40 percent market share."

About 4,000 workers at the Chicago Assembly Plant at 126th Street and Torrance Avenue in Chicago, make the Police Interceptors, along with the Explorer, Taurus and Lincoln MKS. The just-in-time factory supports thousands of additional jobs at automotive suppliers in the Calumet Region, including at Contract Services Group in Hammond and Lear Corp. in Hammond and Portage.

Workers at the plant, who are represented by United Auto Workers Local 551, recently started making a redesigned 2016 model of the Police Interceptor Utility, which has new headlights, a new instrument panel, a stealthier look and a surveillance mode that automatically locks the doors and warns the driver when someone comes up from behind.

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Business Reporter

Joseph S. Pete is a Lisagor Award-winning business reporter who covers steel, industry, unions, the ports, retail, banking and more. The Indiana University grad has been with The Times since 2013 and blogs about craft beer, culture and the military.