Fiat’s plans to build up to 500,000 Chryslers and Jeeps in Russia collapsed last week. Chrysler’s cross-town rival Ford may have had something to do with that. On Friday, Ford and Russia’s Sollers “signed a Memorandum of Understanding under which the parties intend to launch a new 50:50-owned joint venture called Ford Sollers for the production and distribution of Ford vehicles in Russia,” says a Sollers communiqué. Sollers also had been in talks with Fiat, which ended fruitless. The end of the Fiat talks were announced on the same day the deal with Ford was revealed.
The joint venture will include Ford and Sollers local production facilities in Vsevolozhsk (St. Petersburg region) and in the Republic of Tatarstan, where a range of Ford passenger cars and light commercial vehicles will be produced.
Ford has been in Russia since 2002, but needs a boost. GM “sold nearly three times as many cars in the country last month,” says the Wall Street Journal.
Sollers is the second-largest producer of passenger and light-commercial vehicles in Russia, with sales of 98,000 vehicles in 2010.