Crain’s Headlines: More Problems for Troubled Ford Factory

The Ford plant on the city’s Far South Side has been causing some big headaches for the automaker, which is expected to report lower profits this week in a third quarter earnings report.

Ford CEO Jim Hackett told Wall Street analysts earlier this year the redesigned Explorer SUV – made at the Chicago plant – would help fix its underperformance.

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But the plant has been plagued by personnel and productivity issues, according to a new Bloomberg report, that’s caused a struggle to get the new SUV out the door.

Ford has shipped thousands of the Explorers made in Chicago to another factory in Michigan to be reworked.

Bloomberg said roving groups of Ford workers in Chicago are intimidating other employees, driving up turnover and leaving some vehicle assembly unfinished.

In other Chicago business news:

The owners of the United Center are eyeing a $10 million license to run a sports betting operation inside or within a few blocks of the arena.

In an interview with Crain’s about the 25th anniversary of the building’s debut, Bulls owner Jerry Reinsdorf and Blackhawks owner Rocky Wirtz talked about their vision for new development surrounding the venue, which they’d like to see become a destination for entertainment on non-game days.

And sports betting will be a key piece of it if they get their way. But they’re waiting for the Illinois Gaming Board’s guidance on how they’ll roll out and regulate sports wagering – which Illinois legalized in June.

The United Center recently capped off a five-year renovation with a price tag of around $250 million, that includes the development of new practice facilities for the Bulls and Blackhawks and a new office building and atrium attached to the arena.

And finally, the state has tapped a community development banking veteran as its new affordable housing chief.

Kristin Faust has been named executive director of the Illinois Housing Development Authority. The agency finances affordable housing development by issuing bonds to raise private capital and also allocates state and federal funds to housing developers to address the city’s affordable housing crisis.

Crain’s Headlines is a joint production between WTTW and Crain’s Chicago Business. It airs every Monday through Thursday on the WTTW News program “Chicago Tonight.” 

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