CHICAGO (CBS/AP) — After a more than 30 year run, the Ford Motor Co. plant on the city’s Southeast Side will stop making the Ford Taurus in 2019, and instead focus on pricier SUVs, the company announced.
The Taurus, first produced in 1986, was once the top-selling car in the U.S. Production will stop after 2019.
Torrence plant will ramp up production of SUVs, including the new high-end Lincoln Aviator next year.
There are no plans to cut jobs at Torrence or at the Ford stamping planing in Chicago Heights.
Ford plans to introduce an F-150 hyrbrid model by 2020.
The change is part of the company’s wider $11 billion cost-cutting plan to end most of its car production in North America and instead focus on SUVs, like the Explorer, and pickup trucks, like the popular F-150.
Exiting most of the car business comes as the U.S. market continues a dramatic shift toward trucks and SUVs. The company will no longer make the Fusion, Taurus, CMax hybrid compact and Fiesta subcompact in the U.S., Canada and Mexico.
The company will continue to manufacture Mustangs and a compact Focus crossover vehicle. By 2020, 90 percent of Ford’s North American offerings will be trucks, SUVs and commericial vehicles, the company said. That same year, the companyt also plans to roll out hybrid options for the Mustang, the F-150 and its Escape, Explorer and new Bronco SUVs.
At the Torrence plant and the stamping plant in Chicago Heights, officials say there are no plans to cut jobs.
“Taurus will end production by March 2019,” said Ford spokeswoman Kelli Felker. “It will be replaced with an all-new Lincoln Aviator. The plant will continue to build the Explorer. We expect demand for these two vehicles to support the same number of employees as we have today.”
The Taurus, which first rolled off the line in 1986, was once the biggest-selling sedan in the United States.
The company made the announcement as it released first-quarter earnings. It said net income rose 9 percent due largely to a lower-income tax rate.
Ford made $1.74 billion from January through March, or 43 cents per share, compared with $1.59 billion, or 40 cents per share a year ago. Revenue rose 7 percent to $41.96 billion.
Earnings and revenue beat Wall Street estimates.