Fleet News

Ford opens Russian factory

FORD is to produce the Focus at its new plant in St Petersburg, Russia.

The manufacturer said the plant at Vsevolozhsk has a key objective of 'producing a quality car, which offers a combination of flair, dependability and value to Russian consumers while, at the same time, building a facility that will prove to be a valuable investment for Ford'.

Ford of Europe vice-president of manufacturing, John Fleming, officially opened the plant this month.

The plant will assemble the Ford Focus from parts shipped from other Focus plants at Saarlouis in Germany and Valencia in Spain.

'From the outset we will be building cars, with at least the same level of quality as those produced at our Western European plants,' said plant manager Murray Gilbert.

The plant's supervisory team has spent time over the last two years at the two Focus plants in Spain and Germany to glean knowledge of the production process.

The Russian facility is more labour intensive than a high volume plant, as robots are not cost-effective at low volume, Ford said.

Gilbert added: 'There are considerably advantages in terms of the level of attention to detail that can be achieved in a labour intensive operation, especially with the well educated, well trained and well motivated workforce we have at the plant.'

The manufacturer added that it was now searching for suppliers to provide parts and material for the new plant.

It said it was committed to achieving 50% local content within five years.

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