Ford thinks about closing two Russian plants

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Ford Motor is thinking about closing two plants in Russia as part of its worldwide plan to restructure operations in unprofitable locations, three industry sources informed Reuters.

If the closures go ahead, Ford would likely produce only light commercial vehicles in Russia, two sources stated.

After running up fourth-quarter losses in all locations outside North America, Ford is conducting cuts in Europe, shutting down vehicle lines in South America and laying off thousands of employees in China.

In Russia, where Ford has the ability to produce 360,000 vehicles a year, the U.S. automaker could shut down its site in the northern Leningrad region and one of its plants in the central region of Tatarstan, three sources in the industry stated.

The sources stated no final decision had been made.

The Focus and Mondeo passenger car models manufactured at the Leningrad region plant, and the EcoSport and Fiesta models produced in Tatarstan would no longer be constructed in the country and production of the Kuga and Explorer models may also be put to an end in Russia, sources informed.

Ford’s business in Russia is operated through a joint venture with Russian automaker Sollers.

A spokeswoman for Ford in Russia stated discussions were continued regarding reorganization of the Russian business as part of Ford’s new global plan.

“A final decision will be made in the second quarter of this year,” the spokeswoman stated. Right now, “all plants are working as normal,” she said, but refused to discuss if the plants in the Leningrad region and Tatarstan would shut down.

Two other sources – a regional government official and a manager at another Russian automobile company – stated Ford was considering shutting the Tatarstan plant.

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