Ford Sollers to start building Ford EcoSport in Russia in 2014

Article by Anita Panait, on May 16, 2013

Ford Sollers, a joint venture of between Ford Motor Co. and Sollers OJSC, will start producing the Ford EcoSport in Russia in 2014, according to Ford officials. Ford Europe chief Stephen Odell remarked that the the Russian market will be the largest in Europe in the coming years and represents an important growth opportunity.

Production of the Ford EcoSport will start at one of the Ford Sollers’ two sites in Tatarstan in the second half of 2014, considered a timely move as demand for sports utility vehicle continues to grow in Russia. According to Ted Cannis, head of the Ford Sollers, the EcoSport will allow Ford to cater to consumers who seek small SUVs, noting that only a few carmakers are competing in segment.

He noted other carmakers import their SUVs to Russia, resulting to higher prices, adding that building the EcoSport in Russia allows Ford to sell the vehicle at a lower price. He remarked that Ford’s decision to build the small SUV in Russia would result to a “massive success.”Ford Sollers also runs vehicle assembly sites in Naberezhnye Chelny in Tatarstan and in Vsevolozhsk near St. Petersburg.

The joint venture started it operations building just two cars – the compact Focus and mid-sized Mondeo. After 18 months, production grew to include seven models – Focus, Mondeo, Galaxy large minivan, S-MAX large minivan, Transit large van, the Kuga medium SUV and the Explorer large SUV. Ford Sollers recently broke ground on a $274 million powertrain site in Elabuga in Tatarstan, which will employ 500 workers.

Ford’s new EcoSport is one affordable compact sport utility vehicle that is ready for both work and play. This new SUV targets benchmark performance in performance, drivability, and fuel economy, redefining expectations within the compact SUV segment.

The new SUV's main characteristics have been defined by consumers from around the world. Its design and flexibility are part of its differentiated plan, which offers agility, urban practicality, robustness and power, even on rough terrain.

Moreover, the EcoSport’s purposeful posture and elevated stance lend the vehicle a higher-class appearance. It has agile and contemporary lines that express refinement, confidence, and sense of adventure within a smart and modern package. All of these qualities make up the EcoSport's aspirational appeal.

Reinforcing the brand’s commitment to bring a full vehicle portfolio in China, the new EcoSport is going to be the second of a total of 15 new Ford vehicles that the American carmaker plans to introduce there by 2015. This is a part of Ford’s bigger plan of bringing more than 50 new cars and powertrains to Africa and the Asia Pacific region by mid-decade, highlighting the company’s unprecedented expansion there.

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