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Ford Lands Big Deal in Russia – at Fiat’s Expense

Deal with Sollers could be major boost as former Soviet heartland's car market rebounds.

by on Feb.18, 2011

Sollers says "Da," to Ford, opening the door to an expanded presence in Russia.

Eager to expand sales in emerging markets, Ford Motor Co. has announced a 50/50 joint venture with Sollers, one of Russia’s leading automotive companies.

New of the proposed deal — which will involve the production and distribution of Ford passenger cars and light-duty commercial vehicles – followed shortly after Sollers announced it would not complete a partnership under negotiations with the Italian automaker, Fiat SpA.

“We are delighted to be taking this next step for Ford, in Russia, with our proposed partner, Sollers,” said Stephen Odell, chairman and CEO, Ford of Europe.

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“This is a great opportunity, and will provide Ford customers in Russia with more products and better service,” said Odell, adding “It also will help to strengthen the Russian automotive industry and its local supply base.”

In 2002, Ford became the first foreign auto manufacturer to start producing cars in Russia, and since then it has built a solid base in the country. But the joint venture with Sollers reflects a broader industry trend.