Ford Sollers, which is Ford’s JV in Russia, will begin manufacturing the EcoSport from 2014, as demand for small SUVs in the region continues to increase.
Several days ago Ford Sollers broke ground on a new engine plant in Russia, for which the automaker invested $274 million. The new facility will be situated in Elabuga in the Russian republic of Tatarstan and will employ 500 workers.
“The Russian market will be the largest in Europe in the coming years and represent an important growth opportunity,” Ford Europe chief Stephen Odell said in a statement.
Ford will begin production of the EcoSport at one of its two plants in Tatarstan sometime during the second half of 2014. The automaker decided to build the EcoSport here as demand for small SUVs in the region continues to increase in Russia, therefore the company will attract a new range of customers that are looking for this type of vehicles.
Ted Cannis, head of the Ford Sollers, said that currently there are few competitors in this segment in Russia, as many automakers import SUVs to this country, which translates in higher prices. Building the EcoSport in Russia means that Ford will be able to offer the model at a lower price.
“This one, I can do blindfolded,” said Cannis, who helped launch the first EcoSport in Brazil in 2003 when he led Ford’s operations in Argentina. “This is easy math. This will be a massive success.”