RUSSIA – Ford Sollers is accelerating its plan to expand in the burgeoning Russian market by announcing that it is building a $274 million (10 billion Russian Rouble) engine plant in Elabuga in Tatarstan, and also will manufacture and sell the EcoSport.
Production of the EcoSport will commence at a Ford Sollers plant in Tatarstan during the second half of 2014, while the manufacture of three versions of the 1.6-litre Duratec engine will begin at the new engine plant in December 2015.
“This is an important day for Ford Sollers and underscores how serious we are about investing in production in Russia and offering a full range of vehicles for customers in the fast-growing Russian market,” said Ted Cannis, chief executive officer and president, Ford Sollers.
Ford Sollers, the joint venture formed in late 2011 between Ford Motor Company and Sollers, operates three assembly plants in Russia. In 18 months, Ford Sollers has advanced from building two cars, Focus and Mondeo, to seven vehicles today: Focus, Mondeo, Galaxy, S-MAX, Transit, Kuga and Explorer and Transit.
“The demand for Ford SUVs is growing in Russia, and we’re pleased to announce that next year our already strong lineup of SUVs will be supplemented by the Ford EcoSport,” said Adil Shirinov, executive director and chief operating officer, Ford Sollers. “Local production of the EcoSport by Ford Sollers in Tatarstan will help to strengthen the Ford brand position in Russia’s popular SUV segment.”
The announcements were made in Elabuga and Moscow today, and also involved Vadim Shvetsov, chief executive officer, Sollers, plus Mark Fields, Ford chief operating officer, and Stephen Odell, Ford executive vice president and president of Europe, Middle East and Africa, who were visiting Russia.
New Russian engine plant investment
The official ground-breaking ceremony for the Ford Sollers Elabuga Engine Plant took place today. The event was attended by Rustam Minnikhanov, president of Tatarstan. At 42,600 square metres, the facility will be approximately the size of six football fields.
“We are very excited that this will be the first passenger car engine plant in Tatarstan,” Shvetsov said. “The new Ford Sollers Elabuga Engine Plant shows that our plans are on track, and that Ford Sollers is becoming an increasingly important contributor to the growth of the Russian automotive industry.”
The plant will build three versions – 85 PS, 105 PS and 125 PS power levels – of the 1.6-litre, normally-aspirated Duratec gasoline engine. Lightweight, durable, economical and with low noise and emissions, the Duratec was the first Ford engine with block, cylinder head, crankcase and pistons all made of aluminium.
The Ford Sollers Elabuga Engine Plant will have an annual capacity of up to 105,000 units, with the possibility for further expansion of up to 200,000 engines a year. At least 30 per cent of Russian-built Ford vehicles will be equipped with these engines.
“Russia is a very important part of Ford’s One Ford plan for profitable growth,” Mark Fields said. “The establishment of an engine plant here in Elabuga is another sign of the commitment Ford Sollers and its parent companies – Ford and Sollers – are making to serve customers in Russia and contribute to the growth of the Russian auto industry. Just like the Ford vehicles built here in Tatarstan and in St. Petersburg, the Ford engines built in Elabuga will meet Ford’s top global standards for quality, durability and performance.”
The new engine plant will initially employ 500 skilled workers, with the potential for more job growth should engine production increase.
Ford EcoSport comes to Russia
Ford Sollers also confirmed that the EcoSport will be built and go on sale in Russia in the second half of 2014.
The EcoSport will strengthen Ford’s brand presence in the growing SUV and crossover market segment. The Russian range of Ford SUVs already includes the Ford Explorer and the new Ford Kuga.
“We are proud of Ford’s deep and successful SUV heritage,” Fields said. “The new EcoSport is a great example of our One Ford plan, which brings together all of our knowledge and experience in a truly global product development process. We are confident the EcoSport will be a great success with Russian customers in the important and growing SUV market segment.”
The Tatarstan-built EcoSport will offer a comprehensive package of driver assistance technologies including Electronic Stability Program, Hill Launch Assist, SYNC voice-activated in-car connectivity system and Keyless Entry & Start system.
“The Russian market will be the largest in Europe in the coming years and represent an important growth opportunity,” said Odell. “The launch of the EcoSport is one more step in our plan to bring these very latest Ford vehicles – built to the highest quality, best safety and smartest design – to our Russian customers.”
Ford vehicle production started at the Ford Sollers plant in Elabuga, Tatarstan in 2012. The facility currently manufactures the Transit, new Kuga, S-MAX, Galaxy and Explorer, with full production of the Explorer starting just last month.
Every Ford vehicle made in Tatarstan is built in accordance with Ford’s global quality standards. Together with the class-leading Ford Focus and Mondeo manufactured in Vsevolozhsk near St. Petersburg, Ford Sollers today builds and sells seven different Ford vehicles in Russia. Ecosport will be the eighth vehicle to be built and sold in Russia by Ford Sollers once it goes into production next year.
In addition to the vehicles it builds, Ford Sollers also sells other Ford vehicles in Russia. These include the Focus ST, Ranger, Transit Connect, Tourneo Connect, Tourneo Custom and Transit chassis cab.