Facing the prospect of a collapsing local market, Ford Motor Co. is looking with increased desperation for ways to keep its Russian assembly plants busy. It hopes to avoid the same fate as rival General Motors, which has chosen to all but abandon the Russian market entirely.
The heart of the former Soviet Union has seen its car market plunge by 30% since the beginning of this year as Western sanctions have taken hold. And that’s on top of the sharp decline Russia experienced in 2014, sales now running barely half the market’s one-time peak of around 3 million vehicles a year.
But Russia isn’t alone. In fact, only India has continued to maintain solid, positive momentum among the so-called BRIC countries — which also include Brazil, India and China — the most promising emerging markets that were supposed to deliver most of the growth for the global auto industry in the years ahead. (more…)