Ford eyes to improve SUV sales in Russia in 2nd half of 2013

Article by Anita Panait, on July 2, 2013

Ford Motor Co. remarked that government aid and increasing inventories of its sports utility vehicles in Russia will hike demand in the country, which is considered as one of the carmaker's most underperforming markets within Europe. According to Ted Cannis, chief executive of Ford's Ford Sollers unit, the addition of the Kuga compact SUV and the smaller EcoSport subcompact to the production of the Explorer large SUV will allow the carmaker to increase in sales in the second half of 2013.

Ford Sollers is joint venture between Ford and OAO Sollers. Ford posted an 18-percent drop in deliveries in Russia in the first five months of 2013, much worse than the industry's 4.5-percent decline in the country.

Cannis remarked that the Russian government may make some moves to improve industry sales. He remarked that such moves combined with the venture's actions of broadening its SUV portfolio and increasing availability of its commercial vehicles, they expect a "significant improvement" in the second-half of 2013.

Ford chief executive Alan Mulally is bridging the gaps in its product portfolio in Russia, which is expected to surpass Germany as the largest vehicle market in Europe. According to data from the Moscow-based Association of European Businesses (AEB), new-car sales in Russia may reach between 2.8 million to 3.1 million units in 2013.

Should Russia reach the upper range of the projection, the country would effectively surpass Germany, which posted 3 million deliveries in 2012, according to Bloomberg Industries. SUV sales accounted for 31 percent of the Russian market in 2012, according to Russia's AUTOSTAT market-research agency.

Russian President Vladimir Putin indicated that the government was readying measures to boost the economy, which incentives for the auto industry that might be similar to those offered in 2008, according to Cannis.

Topics: ford, suv, sales, russia

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