MOSCOW, Russian Federation – Ford Motor Company and Sollers OJSC have announced that Ford Sollers, their 50-50 joint venture in Russia, has started operations.
Alan Mulally, president and CEO, Ford Motor Company, and Vadim Shvetsov, CEO, Sollers OJSC, announced the formal commencement of the joint venture in Moscow at the weekend, just eight months after the two companies signed the initial memorandum of agreement.
“The Ford Sollers joint venture will help us accelerate our plan to offer a full lineup of world-class vehicles to Russian customers,” said Alan Mulally, speaking in Moscow at the announcement event. “This partnership marks another important step in our One Ford plan to profitably grow around the world.”
Added Vadim Shvetsov, CEO of Sollers commented: “For Sollers, this is an historic event. Our strategy has been to develop a partnership with a world class automotive player that can offer a full range of vehicles suitable for the Russian market. Ford is the partner we have been looking for to support this vision.
“We are certain this project will have a valuable impact on the Russian economy overall, and will further strengthen the Ford brand's position in the global auto industry.”
Mulally and Shvetsov used the occasion to announce that Ford Sollers will be producing the iconic Ford Explorer in the Republic of Tatarstan in Russia next year. The all-new version of the Explorer – with major improvements in power with an output of 294PS, refinement and fuel economy – has been a popular seller since it was introduced in
North America last year.
The Ford Explorer joins the new Ford Focus and Ford Mondeo, which are currently built in St. Petersburg, and the Ford Transit medium commercial vehicle, which also will be built in Tatarstan from 2012.
In addition to vehicle production, Ford Sollers will manufacture engines; operate a stamping facility that will provide a higher level of local parts content for Ford vehicles built in Russia; and establish research and development activities. It also will be responsible for the import and distribution of all Ford brand products, parts and accessories in Russia.
The announcement follows the recent confirmation that Ford Sollers had secured a long-term financing loan of 36 billion roubles from Russia's Vnesheconombank to help develop the Ford Sollers business.
The new Ford Sollers business will be headquartered in Khimki, Moscow Oblast, and will have three production sites; one in the Leningrad Oblast, and two in Tatarstan.
Ted Cannis is appointed president and CEO of Ford Sollers.