Ford Sollers, the joint venture business equally-owned by Ford and Sollers, is celebrating its fifth anniversary since the beginning of operations in Russia.
Five years ago, the management of the joint venture laid out an ambitious development plan for Ford Sollers: to offer Russians as quickly as possible a wide range of Ford automobiles produced in Russia and to launch engine production. The company has successfully fulfilled all the promises it made to the market and is continuing its dynamic development.
Today, the company is represented in Russia by four production sites—a plant in Vsevolozhsk (Leningrad Oblast), and three in Tatarstan (two plants in Elabuga and one in Naberezhniye Chelny)—as well as a full-scale R&D center focused on the adaptations and localization of Ford vehicles. The total investment in the joint venture amounted to $1.5 billion.
In 5 years, the company has moved to full-cycle production of seven localized models fully adapted to the climate and road conditions in Russia—the Ford Fiesta, the Ford Focus, the Ford Mondeo, the Ford EcoSport, the Ford Kuga, the Ford Explorer, and the Ford Transit—and represents one of the newest product lines on the market. In addition, Ford Sollers has put a range of special purpose vehicles on the market based on the new Ford Transit. The 25 special purpose vehicles have been developed with support of the Ford Sollers R&D center.
The company continues to work on increasing the level of localization in Russia in order to reduce costs and dependency on exchange rate fluctuations. Today, 70 local companies supply Ford Sollers with more than 300 local components. This has allowed the company to exceed the localization level by 50%. The company has moved to local raw materials for the production of stamping elements and also uses around 150 components made from local plastics.
Additionally, as a part of the strategy for increasing localization, the company launched a new engine production plant in Elabuga in September 2015, investments for which consisted of $275 million. The engines that are produced there have a significant level of localization as they receive their basic components from Russian suppliers and are produced from local raw materials. By 2016 and in record time, the company had achieved a 45% localization level of its engines.
Three Ford models have received the locally-made motors. The new Ford Focus, as well as the Ford Fiesta in both sedan and hatchback, is fitted with a 1.6 liter Duratec, Russian engine with 85, 105, and 125 hp options. The subcompact Ford EcoSport crossover sports a 122 hp engine.
To date, the Ford dealer’s network in Russia has 132 dealerships and is continuing to grow. In 2016, the company created a network of specialized dealers in Russia for the sale and after-sales service of light commercial vehicles and special purpose vehicles based on Ford automobiles, which grants the status of Transit-center to 50 dealer centers in 28 cities throughout Russia—from Arkhangelsk to Krasnodar, and from Saint Petersburg to Khabarovsk.
The company has set up exports to the markets of Kazakhstan, Belarus, and Armenia. Ford Sollers exports the whole gamut of Russian-produced Ford light automobiles, as well as special purpose vehicles based on the Ford Transit.