Ford has had a problem with vehicles thefts at company-owned lots and facilities as of late. Recently, more Ford F-150 pickups have disappeared from corporate storage locations around Dearborn, Michigan. But that was just the latest in a string of thefts that have seen many examples of the full-size pickup vanish, acts that also included engine thefts from recently built Raptor R pickups. Now, CBS Chicago reports that several 2023 Lincoln Aviator and Ford Explorer SUVs residing at Chicago Assembly plant were recently stolen.
Police sources told the news outlet that at least seven suspects absconded with a small fleet of Lincoln Aviator SUVs, although the report says they were “mainly” vehicles from the luxury brand, which means the other vehicles taken were Ford Explorer SUVs, since Chicago Assembly plant is currently tasked with producing the two vehicles. All told, the value of the ten stolen vehicles is estimated to be around $750,000. Aside from the stolen SUVs, other examples of the Aviator apparently became collateral damage, as several were clearly damaged on the lot. The outlet’s helicopter recorded a hole in the fence surrounding the lot too.
This is not the first time a Ford Motor Company vehicle has been stolen directly from an assembly plant or a nearby lot. Last summer, several Ford F-150 Raptor pickups were stolen from the Dearborn Truck plant, and a couple of Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 coupes were straight up taken from Flat Rock Assembly. The recent string of thefts from Ford facilities and storage lots around the country has impacted the communities where they take place.
Production at the Chicago Assembly plant has varied this year. The plant churned out 25,625 examples of the Ford Explorer and 2,840 Lincoln Aviator SUVs in January, but just 12,387 and 1,514 of both, respectively, in July. Both models are expected to be refreshed for the 2024 model year.