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Yearly sales of locally made Ford Explorer fall for first time in seven years

In a 2014 file photo, vehicles are carried to various assembly points at Ford's Chicago Assembly Plant, which produces the Explorer, the Taurus, the Police Interceptor Utility and the Police Interceptor Sedan. Sales of all those vehicles fell in 2016 except for the Police Interceptor Utility.

Sales of the Calumet Region-made Ford Explorer dropped by 3.6 percent in 2016, the first annual loss for the top-selling midsize SUV since 2009.

Sales of the Explorer, made at Ford's Chicago Assembly Plant in Hegewisch, grew by 0.7 percent in December, but fell 3.6 percent to 216,294 vehicles for the year. It was the first yearly sales decline for the Explorer since 2009, and the first since production was moved to the automotive factory at Torrence Avenue and 126th Street in 2010.

The plant on the Calumet River just across the state line in Chicago also makes the Police Interceptor Utility, the Police Interceptor Sedan and the Taurus.

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Sales of the Police Interceptor Utility grew 1.9 percent in December and 29.2 percent to 32,213 vehicles in 2016.

Police Interceptor Sedan sales dropped 3 percent last year, while Taurus sales fell 11.3 percent.

The Taurus had been the best selling car in the United States during the early 1990s, but consumers only bought 34,626 Tauruses last year. To put that in perspective, Ford sold nearly three times as many higher-margin F-Series pickup trucks in December alone.

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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.