Ford Sollers announces today the one millionth Ford vehicle sold to a Russian customer since Ford re-entered the market in the mid-1990s – a Ford Focus.
Ford Sollers, the joint venture equally-owned by Ford and Sollers in Russia, announces the one millionth Ford vehicle sold to a Russian customer – a Ford Focus. Overall the Focus was the best-selling model in the mid-sized car segment in Russia in 2012, and accordinng to the U.S. car maker also the world’s best-selling passenger car nameplate last year based on 2012 global market registration data from Polk.
Ford’s transformation plan targets a mid-decade return to profitability in Europe. Russia is one of Ford’s most important markets in the region and Ford Sollers vehicle sales in Russia increased by11 percent in 2012 with 130,815 units sold in total.
In addition to Focus, the Ford Kuga, Explorer and Transit also contributed to increased Russian sales. Last year, Kuga sales were up 45 percent, Explorer sales tripled and Transit was up 56 percent. Since 2003, the Ford Focus ranked first among foreign brands in Russian vehicles sales and became a standard for the industry in safety, quality and design.
The one millionth vehicle was built at the Ford Sollers assembly plant near St. Petersburg, and is one of 600,000 Ford Focus cars to have been bought by Russian customers.
“We continue to deliver the products that our customers want and value throughout the globe, creating a better world and driving profitable growth,” said Cannis. “Russia is on its way to being the largest market in Europe and presents an enormous opportunity for growth.”
Ford Sollers is accelerating its plan to grow in the Russian market by building a $274 million engine plant in Elabuga, Tatarstan, the first in the region. The company also will manufacture and sell Ford’s all-new EcoSport small sports utility vehicle in the second half of 2014 to meet growing demand for utility vehicles, expanding the Russian Ford SUV range already including Kuga and Explorer.
Ford’s fuel-efficient SUVs are projected to outpace the overall industry during the next five years, according to IHS Automotive, as small utilities are the fastest-growing vehicle segment globally.
As global demand for utility vehicles increases, the Ford Explorer is being produced from the ground up outside of the United States for the first time in the iconic SUV’s history – in Russia. The first full-production Explorer in Russia rolled off the assembly line in April at Ford Sollers Elabuga Assembly Plant in the Republic of Tatarstan.
Ford in Russia
Ford entered the Russian market in 1907 with its first Russian dealership accredited in St. Petersburg. In 1991, Ford established a dealership network and in 2002 inaugurated its first Russian manufacturing facility. Then, in 2011, the Ford Sollers joint venture was established, which continues to grow profitably today.