Ford Sollers, the two-year-old joint venture between Ford Motor Company and Sollers that produces Ford-branded cars for the Russian market, announced plans to expand its lineup in Russia with the addition of two sport utility vehicles. To meet rising demand, the joint venture will commence production of the subcompact EcoSport crossover SUV and the midsize Edge crossover SUV.
The EcoSport is set to begin production in 2014 at the modernized vehicle assembly plant in Naberezhnye Chelny, Tatarstan while the Edge will be made at the Elabuga, Tatarstan plant starting in early 2014.
“The Ford EcoSport and Ford Edge, which have proved to be great successes around the world, will give Russian customers two new stylish, fun-to-drive options from Ford’s family of SUVs,” said Ford Motor Company Executive Chairman Bill Ford, who currently is visiting Ford Sollers’ operations in Russia. “In addition to strengthening the Ford brand in Russia, production of these vehicles will create jobs and prosperity for the local community and help build a strong Russian auto industry for the future.”
Established as an equally-owned joint venture in 2011, Ford Sollers has made some notable headway in 2013 according to Sollers CEO Vadim Shvetsov, including:
- Launching full cycle production of the Ford Explorer in the Elabuga plant
- Beginning construction of a new $274 million (10 billion Russian Roubles) engine plant in Tatarstan
- Announcing the creation of an R&D center in Moscow with operations in the Leningradskaya Oblast and Tatarstan
“The announcement helps to maintain the momentum the Ford Sollers business has achieved over the past two years since its creation”, added Mr. Shvetsov.
The EcoSport and Edge will join already-popular Explorer and Kuga (Escape) in Russia, thereby strengthening Ford’s presence in the growing SUV and crossover segments, according to president and CEO of Ford Sollers Ted Cannis.
Based on Ford’s global B-segment platform shared with the Fiesta range, the EcoSport delivers small car agility and fuel efficiency with the flexibility, spaciousness, four-wheel drive or front wheel drive, high driving position and style of an SUV. The diminutive crossover will be offered with a choice of 1.6-liter or 2.0-liter engines and a choice of a manual or automatic transmission.