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Ford Explorer sales climb 22 percent in August
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Ford Explorer sales climb 22 percent in August

The locally made Ford Explorer continues to fly off dealership lots, with a 22 percent gain in sales in July.

The mid-sized SUV, made at the Chicago Assembly Plant in Hegewisch, has had a 17.7 percent jump in sales this year. The Police Interceptor Utility, which is a souped-up version of the Explorer, also has seen a 27.1 percent boost in sales through the end of August.

Domestic automakers have been having a great year. U.S. auto sales stood at 17.2 million annualized units at the halfway point, which was near the highest level in a decade, according to BMO Harris Bank.

Ford's total U.S. sales rose 5 percent last month, its best August in nine years. The Dearborn, Mich.-based automaker had its best month on record in the Chicago market after a 3 percent jump. Explorer sales rose 23 percent in Chicagoland and had their best month locally since the new body style was introduced in 2011.

"Customer demand for our newest vehicles made August a strong month for Ford," said Mark LaNeve, Ford vice president, U.S. Marketing, Sales and Service. "Improved availability helped make August the strongest sales month this year for F-Series. We also had our best month of Ford SUV sales in 12 years."

Overall Ford SUV sales rose 12 percent to 69,077. Last month was Ford's best August for SUV sales since 2003.

Ford sold 21,658 Chicago-made Explorers in August, and 152,523 so far this year.

The sprawling plant on Torrence Avenue has cut back on production of the less popular Taurus, which saw sales decline by 22.2 percent in August and 30.7 percent year-to-date. Sales of the Police Interceptor Sedan and the Lincoln MKS, which are also made at Ford's automotive factory on the banks of the Calumet River, were down 23.3 percent and 5.6 percent, respectively, in August.

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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.

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