By on April 14, 2016

Ford Focus diesel Russia

After partnering with the Russian company Sollers for the past five years and investing more than $1 billion into car and engine factories, Ford Motor Company is betting on a Russian rebound and still sees the beleaguered country as a long-term play.

Amid GM’s retreat from Russia, Ford stuck to its game plan by spending cash on new models and plants in that country, presumably to avoid a catch-up situation similar to the one it faced in China. According to Automotive News, the commitment paid off in the first quarter of 2016, sending sales up by 93 percent in a market that saw a 17 percent decline over the same period.

The Russian automobile market, once the second largest in Europe, is in a steep decline due to a prolonged recession.

Exporting vehicles from Russia is also an option being kept open by Ford Sollers, thanks to the ruble’s weakness compared to other currencies.

If there’s a shortage of capacity in western Europe, it could create a unique opportunity to boost production. This would be a positive development, as company officials don’t expect a sales gain equal to the massive first quarter jump.

Interestingly, yesterday’s Ford GT announcement included a map of regions where customers could order the $450,000 supercar — eagle-eyed readers will note that Russia is not mentioned. While an expensive halo vehicle will not give Ford the volume it needs in Russia, an argument could be made that seeing GTs on the streets of Moscow would raise the brand’s profile.

Ford started producing five models in Russia last year, including the Mondeo and Transit. The company also makes the Kuga and EcoSport SUVs in Russia.

[Image: Petr Magera/Flickr (CC BY 2.0)]

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49 Comments on “Reinvest in Russia? Ford Motor Company Says “Da!”...”


  • avatar
    dal20402

    России завод по производству автомобилей, без водки пиздец.

  • avatar
    RobertRyan

    Ford’s Transit is not a big seller in Continental Europe and has major competition in Russia. Transit is a major seller in the UK. Kuga and Mondeo? ,I would be surprised they would last long on the somewhat rough roads in Russia

    • 0 avatar
      JohnTaurus_3.0_AX4N

      Oh no! Competition? Better shut down the factory, pack it up and go home. God knows no vehicle can survive if other similar models are sold in the same market. What were they thinking?

      And, everyone knows that because a vehicle isnt selling well at one point, especially in a recession, itll NEVER sell any better, so again, no use to try. Might as well crush them all before its too late.

      What wonderful insight.

      • 0 avatar
        RobertRyan

        Ford has struggled in Russia and the Transit does not sell well in Continental Europe, including Russia.
        Yes it is Wonderful Insight

        • 0 avatar

          But the point is, now that everyone and their mother in Russia rides or owns a Gazel, a Transit could easily be marketed as “a better Gazel, by Ford”. It’s not like trying to sell it in the U.S. where people belly-ache about Econoline’s sublime fuel economy. Or was it ruggedness? You can never tell with those obsolete cars.

          • 0 avatar
            RobertRyan

            Gazelle’s are everywhere in Russia, Ford’s no. Transit is not really making many waves here against it’s own European completion, so trying to market it as an upmarket Gazelle, when it is not,is not going to work.

          • 0 avatar
            Sjalabais

            Exactly what I was thinking. The Gazelle looks like an old Transit, and has about the lifespan of a high miler abused commercial vehicle. They’re cheap though, and on every corner.

          • 0 avatar
            Scoutdude

            The reports I’ve seen on the fuel economy of the Transit with the base engine vs an Econoline with the 4.6 or 5.4 shows that the Transit gets maybe an extra 1 mpg. Haven’t seen reports on the EcoBoost or diesel versions.

            The Econoline built its reputation and 50%+ market share on its ruggedness. My old Econoline had a tree branch fall on it knocking a big hole in its fiberglass high top, so I determined that it was time to replace it. The high top conversions that the wheel chair transportation companies use do not get retired until they exceed 300k miles. Even then they ask a lot of money for them.

            I did get lucky and pick up an 09 last weekend that had been a medic vehicle. It has “only” 178K on the clock so I expect it will last me 10 years or more with the amount I use it.

            It is an interesting story. I saw it at the last county auction but it quickly was bid higher than I wanted to pay. Apparently it was a dealer who purchased it and of course they retailed it for more than they paid. The person who bought it wanted it to take her pet grooming business mobile. Unfortunately she injured her back and had to call it quits. I picked it up for the price I had got out of the bidding at. The one down side is all the dog hair in it and the fact that it is still has a Baldwin oil filter on it meaning that the oil was not changed since it left the auction. It even has the sticker showing the next time the oil change was due.

          • 0 avatar
            RobertRyan

            Outside NA the Transit is a 2.2 Diesel, no Ecoboost

    • 0 avatar
      Shawnski

      I would trust a European Ford all day long in Russia. Superior suspension design, good engines comfortable and most importantly SAFE. You ever see how often cars collide in Russia?

      • 0 avatar
        RobertRyan

        Been to Russia, all I can say your a brave man.or foolish. In the rest of Continental Europe( Russia is not continental Europe), every other make predominates as a form of personal transport

    • 0 avatar
      Ghiafan

      You need to check your Transit sales in EU facts……….Ford was Europe’s No. 1 commercial vehicle brand in March and in the first quarter. It was the best first quarter for Ford CV sales in its traditional markets since 1993. Ford CV sales grew 17.3 percent to 40,000 units in March, and 14.4 percent to 80,900 units in the first quarter on increased demand for the expanded Transit range and the Ranger pickup.

      Ford’s CVs achieved market-leading shares of 15.6% in March and 13.7% in the first quarter, respectively. Ranger sales were up 24 percent, resulting in the best first quarter for Ranger since launch in 1998 and making it the best-selling pick-up in Europe. The Transit is Europe’s best-selling CV nameplate in the combined 1- and 2-tonne market segment. With a sales increase of 30%, the Transit Connect had its best first quarter sales since the nameplate was launched in 2008.

      source http://www.streetinsider.com/Corporate+News/Ford+Motor+(F)+Reports+8.4%25+Q1+Sales+Increase+in+Europe,+Best+Total+Sales+in+Six+Years/11501887.html

      • 0 avatar
        RobertRyan

        Depends on what your source and category is. Pickups are pretty nonexistent in Europe. Toyota is the Global best seller of Pickups.outside NA. Ford has never done well in Russia, which is not Europe. Transit did well in the 1ton and 2ton category, that is the lightweight category.
        “In Europe, Renault Pro+ is the best-selling LCV brand for the 18th consecutive year.

        “We are expanding our LCV range with the addition of new, enhanced traction solutions to meet the needs of our business customers. Having vehicles they can use on any type or road or terrain is a means for them to achieve excellence in their respective fields.”

        • 0 avatar
          RobertRyan

          As well this badly configured graph shows the LCV breakup in Europe
          http://eupocketbook.theicct.org/charts/lcv-registrations-brand-0

        • 0 avatar

          Wrong. Russia is in Europe. Most population lives in Europe and consider themselves Europeans and most of trade is done with European countries.

          • 0 avatar
            RobertRyan

            Wrong, very much wrong. Russia covers several time Zones, it is an Eurasian country stretching from The Kalingrad enclave near Poland to Siberia. You must not have done Geography in School.. You see Chinese vehicles in Russia’s Far East.
            Read Gasniers Blog,attached to TTAC, gives you a better idea

          • 0 avatar

            Thank you, I did not know that. I thought that Kaliningrad is in Europe.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            Kaliningrad is in Russia, but the Kaliningrad Oblast is an oddity. The city is actually Königsberg and was the capital of the old Prussian Empire. During the Second World War the Soviets occupied East Prussia and made a final assault on the city in early April 1945. After the war, the territory was annexed by the Soviet Union and the civilian survivors in Königsberg were forcibly deported and replaced by ethnic Russians and the city renamed after Mikhail Kalinin.

            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/K%C3%B6nigsberg

            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kaliningrad

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            Three-quarters of Russia’s land mass is in Asia.

            This will blow you away, but it’s actually possible for a country to be located on two continents simultaneously. Shocking, I know.

          • 0 avatar
            RobertRyan

            Correct , Kalingrad is in Europe a lot of Rusiia is in Asia. Chinese vehicles are sold in the Russian Far East

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            @Inside Looking Out

            Russia has always had territory in Europe and an Asia going back several hundred years.

          • 0 avatar

            Russia was located on three continents until Tzar sold Alaska to US. Russians came as far as SF. Asian part is a vast empty space like Canada. Almost all Russians live in European part and consider themselves Europeans, look like Europeans, eat European food, are Christians and fight with Europeans. If to be scientific – there is no such a thing as EUROPE, there is Euroasian continent and all Europeans and actually Euroasians. Russians have nothing in common with Japanese, Chinese, Vietnamese and other Asians. Russia was originally located only in Europe and then spread out to Asia by colonizing it, like British did colonizing all continents outside of Europe. Russians would do the same if had access to ocean or sea. Russians tried to capture Hawaii as a matter of fact

          • 0 avatar
            RobertRyan

            As part of their somewhat violent History, do not think they are ” European” but Russian. Yes they share values with Europeans, but have a distinct distance to Europeans. Many people from the US have European roots, but do not think of themselves as Europeans. Many Cities in Russia are east of the Urals supposed dividing line between Europe and Asia

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            Finally, we have some TTAC posters who understand that Russia isn’t just located in Europe.

            At this rate, the “best and brightest” may eventually be able to keep with the students in a typical middle school geography class.

          • 0 avatar

            Violent history? Yeah, Europeans were so peaceful and kind to each other and own citizens, even in 20th century. I wonder where 50 million people including 6 million Jews disappeared. Esp given that they never even shared bed with Mongols.

  • avatar
    gtemnykh

    The Focus is VERY highly regarded in Russia, sometimes seen as a default choice for a reliable family car in the way a Camry is seen in the US. We’ll see what the next few years hold in terms of the value of currency, and general health of the economy.

  • avatar

    Russia is not Australia. It is a big country with lot of customers who like Fords esp in European part. One my friend bought new Mondeo recently recession be damned. Russians make somehow money and survive severe conditions that westerners would consider to be a полный пиздец.

  • avatar
    Sjalabais

    It’s an excellent bet. What goes down, tends to come up. And Ford Europe has been building pretty impressive quality vehicles. I’ve been trying to invest in Russian index funds, but haven’t found anything suitable yet. When the rubel took a dive last year, I thought it obvious that the government would intervene. There was a potential 20% earned within a week or so, but I was to GM-ish to pull the trigger.

    • 0 avatar
      ToddAtlasF1

      What country are you in that Ford has a good quality reputation? In the US, when Ford’s cars and CUVs went from being badge engineered Mazdas to European Fords, Ford’s quality went straight in the toilet. The old Fusions and Escapes were dependable cars. The new ones are not.

      • 0 avatar
        RobertRyan

        Same here with the imported Mondeo. Previous model Transit, had a poor reputation

      • 0 avatar
        Sjalabais

        Norway. What I remember very well though is how Ford managed to produce the most reliable car with its second generation Focus in the German TÜV-Report one year. The Focus-derived Volvo V50 shared first place with the Toyota Avensis in the Swedish Bilprövningen. Mondeo and S-Max have a good reputation, too.

        That said, I would not expect Fords, especially older ones, to rival Japanese cars when it comes to dependability. But I see them as of better quality than the crap GM, fca, and, in parts, Volkswagen produce.

        • 0 avatar
          RobertRyan

          There you are Norway, thinks they are OK

          • 0 avatar
            Shawnski

            But the all knowing “RobertRyan” thinks they aren’t. So there you go.

          • 0 avatar
            RobertRyan

            Bulk of buyers in Continental Europe go for other Vans. Norway is different to other Continental countries in having a staggering number of EV’s, as a result of their Hydro Power, it is pretty cheap.

          • 0 avatar
            Sjalabais

            Well, who knows what factors come into play here. In European stats, Ford is far from the worst. In Norway, people drive slow and far, wet and cold weather kills most cars way before their mechanics are ready to give up. That might have an effect on the results of how reliable cars are perceived.

  • avatar
    bpsorrel

    Fords will never be looked at in the way Toyota, Nissan and these days, Hyundai and KIA are, but the Focus is well thought of in Russia, in fact several of my Russian family drive or have driven Russian made Focus and haven’t complained much about quality.

    I have a Nissan Qashqai (Rogue to you in USA) in Russia because of the high ground clearance (very necessary to avoid damage!) and the inherent reliability that’s also very important there.

    I’ve noticed, like in the UK, the trend definately moving towards crossovers and to this end, Ford’s Kuga is beginning to do well.

    Very different market to the rest of Europe.

    • 0 avatar
      Sjalabais

      Can I borrow some insight? Who keeps buying the UAZ Hunter? I thought they’d finally burry it towards the end of 2015, but the car remains available at an unbelievably attractive price.

      • 0 avatar

        Looks like you answered your own question. Same kind of people who keep the bukhanka afloat buy Hunter for a parallel application. In addition, UAZ Patriot keeps having issues and adds dumb design changes. Electronic transfer case control? Puleeeze. Why don’t they make it so the radiator does not breaks off its mounts instead? With competition like that Hunter looks well proven and attractive, if perhaps lacking in modern safety features. Of course, Jeremy Clarkson didn’t like the platform, but we know how unbiased he is, right?

        • 0 avatar
          Sjalabais

          So the Hunter is perceived as more reliable – or just easier to repair? From what I’ve read, it totally wears out enthusiasts across the world by being a constant issue generator.

    • 0 avatar
      RobertRyan

      “Fords will never be looked at in the way Toyota, Nissan and these days, Hyundai and KIA ”
      Agreed. Saw a lot of those in Russia and those Police/Army Jeeplike vehicles

    • 0 avatar

      When I lived in Russia Japanese cars were considered as disposable so people avoided them. I had trouble selling my Toyota Carina before I left Russia – everybody were looking down because it was not a German car. And my favorite cars at time were FORD Scorpio and Mondeo. They cost too much compared with contemporary Japanese cars so I could not afford one. BMW and Audi cost even more. Even Opel had better reputation than Japanese cars but I could not stomach Opels because they were so stodgy and low quality.


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