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JUL 92012

Ford Sollers Plant in St. Petersburg Celebrates Ten Years of Building Ford Cars

St. Petersburg, Russia, July 9, 2012 — The Ford Sollers plant in Vsevolozhsk near St. Petersburg has celebrated its tenth year of Ford car production.

The Vsevolozhsk facility was the first foreign-owned vehicle manufacturing plant in Russia in the modern era, and has built more than 500,000 Ford Focus and Ford Mondeo cars over the last decade.

In a video message to Vsevolozhsk employees, Alan Mulally, CEO and President, Ford Motor Company, said: “St. Petersburg has been an important part of Ford’s operations since the first day it opened, and today it is an integral part of our new Ford Sollers joint venture. The Ford Focus and Mondeo that you build serve hundreds of thousands of customers across Russia — all with the best quality, fuel efficiency, safety and smart design and, of course, the very best value.”

Vadim Shvetsov, CEO, SOLLERS, also congratulated the Ford Sollers employees and said: “Vsevolozhsk was the starting point of the modern Russian automotive industry. Ford pioneered the concept of international automakers building high-quality Ford vehicles in Russia, and we are now continuing this great tradition through the Ford Sollers joint venture.”

The Ford Sollers Vsevolozhsk facility builds the Ford Focus III and Ford Mondeo cars. “The combination of Ford’s advanced manufacturing processes and our highly-skilled employees at Vsevolozhsk means that our cars are built to the world-class levels of quality that our Russian customers deserve,” said Ilya Butin, General Manager of the plant.

The Ford Focus III — the Russian Car of the Year in its segment in 2011 and 2012. It also has been awarded the highest five-star rating for safety by Euro NCAP. The car went into production at the plant last year, and has built upon the success of prior Focus models in the Russian market.

"The Ford Focus III is a truly outstanding car with levels of technology usually only seen in far more expensive premium vehicles, such as BLISS or Active Park Assist“,- said Ted Cannis, President and CEO Ford Sollers. “Ford Focus III sales are up 18 per cent for the first six months of 2012 compared with sales of the previous Focus model in the same period last year. We’re so pleased that the Ford Focus III is so popular with our customers, and we thank them for their confidence in the Ford brand,” — added Adil Shirinov, Executive Director and COO, Ford Sollers.

Mondeo sales also growing up, they showed almost 10 percent more in 1st half of 2012 comparing with the same period of 2011. Moreover according to the sales results of 2010 and 2011 Mondeo is the bestselling vehicle in its class.

Production started at Vsevolozhsk in 2002 following an initial investment of $150 million. Production capacity at the start was 25,000 vehicles a year, and 600 people were employed at the plant.

The first model built was the original Ford Focus, which became Russia’s best-selling C-segment car in 2003. Production of the Ford Focus II began in 2005, with the car becoming the top-selling vehicle built by a foreign-owned company five times between 2005 and 2011. Vsevolozhsk was the only European Ford plant to build all four body styles of the Ford Focus and Ford Focus II: 3-door, 4-door, 5-door and the Wagon. In 2009, the plant started production of the Ford Mondeo.

To date, the plant has received investments totaling over $330 million, with additional equipment and its manufacturing processes constantly being installed and improved. The plant now has the capacity to build up to 125,000 vehicles a year, and employs nearly 3,000 people — with over half of the original 600 employees who started work in 2002 still being employed at the plant.

The Vsevolozhsk plant became part of the Ford Sollers joint venture when it was created in late 2011, and is now one of three plants — the other two being located in the Russian Republic of Tatarstan — operated by the business.