The joint venture between Ford Motor Co. and Sollers -- Ford Sollers -- is setting up a new research and development center in Russia to adapt Ford vehicles for the domestic market. According to Ford Sollers, its new r&d activities will be based in Moscow, Tatarstan and the St Petersburg region.
The joint venture currently operates production facilities near St Petersburg and in Tatarstan, building the Ford Kuga medium sports utility vehicle, Ford Explorer large SUV, compact Focus and the mid-sized Mondeo as well as the Ford Transit van and the S-Max, Galaxy and Tourneo Custom large minivans.
Several western carmakers have made heavy investments into their production operations in Russia, wagering that the country’s vehicle market will boom as consumers replace their old units.
On the other hand, the figures tell us that car sales in Russia have dropped for six months in a row, no thanks to the country’s slumping economy. In fact, the Association of European Businesses (AEB) recently revised downward its sales forecast for 2013 to 2.8 million vehicles.