Official: Ford and Sollers establish new Joint Venture in Russia image

Ford Motor Co, on Wednesday said that the company and Sollers OJSC have signed agreements to establish a 50-50-owned joint venture in Russia. The new business, named Ford Sollers, is scheduled to start operations later this year.

Stephen Odell, chairman and CEO of Ford of Europe, and Vadim Shvetsov, general director of Sollers, signed the final agreement papers at a ceremony today held in Moscow with Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin.

The new joint venture also announced the Ford Transit medium commercial vehicle will be among several new Ford products to be built by Ford Sollers.

“This is an historic day for the Ford brand in Russia,” Stephen Odell said. “Together with our friends and partners at Sollers, we have established the new Ford Sollers business with the clear objective of providing our customers with more Ford products and increased service in the Russian market.

“Russia is set to become Europe’s largest market for new vehicles by mid-decade and provides the Ford brand a huge growth opportunity. Ford Sollers will help to build the Ford brand in Russia and support profitable growth, while also strengthening the Russian automotive industry and its local supply base,” said Odell.

“We are delighted to work with Ford, and this partnership is a vital step in the development of Sollers,” said Vadim Shvetsov. “We are confident that our mutual efforts on the development of manufacturing facilities, new product launches and localisation of parts content will ensure success for our strategy and a leading position for the Ford Sollers joint venture company in the Russian market.”

Ford Sollers operations will include the Ford manufacturing plant in Vsevolozhsk, near St. Petersburg, which currently builds the Ford Focus and Ford Mondeo, in addition to two Sollers production facilities in the Republic of Tatarstan. Together, these three plants will manufacture a range of Ford passenger cars and light commercial vehicles, including the Ford Transit commercial vehicle.

In 2002, Ford became the first foreign automaker to manufacture cars in Russia. Ford brings to the Ford Sollers venture its extensive manufacturing experience, a dealer network of 107 sales and service sites in 71 cities across Russia, and a strong reputation with Russian customers. In addition to the vehicles Ford Sollers will build in Russia, the joint venture will have access to the global range of Ford’s latest products delivered under its One Ford plan.

Moreover, Volkswagen, GM and the consortium AvtoVAZ-Renault-Nissan-IzhAvto-Kamaz Mercedes-Benz Trucks East, according to these agreements, will invest in Russian car industry more than 5 billion dollars during the upcoming four years.

The Ministry for Economic Development reports that Russia is going to assemble up to 100 brand new car models.