After signing joint venture agreements in June this year, the Ford Sollers JV has officially started business.
The joint venture plans to build Explorer SUVs at a plant in the Tatarstan republic starting next year, Vadim Shvetsov, head of Sollers, Russia’s second-biggest automaker, said at the ceremony in Moscow.
Apart from production of Explorers, the JV will set up an engine manufacturing plant with output capacity of 180,000 to 200,000 engines per year.
Ford is expanding in Russia as the government pushes general automakers to assemble vehicles in the nation and use locally done components.
Russia might turn Europe’s biggest automobile marketplace by the finish of the decade, with sales reaching 4 million vehicles, according to the Association of European Businesses, of which Ford is a member.
Russian car sales halved in 2009 as the global economic crisis caused a slump in demand and dried up access to credit, but the market has recovered sharply, with 2011 growth expected at 30 percent.
In 2002, Ford became the first foreign auto manufacturer to start producing cars in Russia, and since then it has built a solid base in the country.
Ford brings to the proposed joint venture its manufacturing experience, an extensive existing dealer network, and a strong reputation among Russian customers as a brand that sells great products in the Russian market.