Ford of Europe vice-president manufacturing, John Fleming, said: 'The introduction of a third shift in our St Petersburg plant and the rise in production volume is the right move for Ford, taking its presence in the growing Russian market to a new level.
'I'm very confident that what we have achieved in Russia is only the beginning of a successful and stable growth for Ford in this market.' The company began production of the Focus in August 2002, increasing production from 3,600 units in 2002 to 16,300 in 2003.
At the same time, Ferrari and Maserati have launched into the Russian market.
A special press conference launching the brands included a Ferrari 575M Maranello, a 360 Modena, a Maserati Quattroporte and a Spyder Cambiocorsa that made a dash across Northern Europe, Sweden, Finland and Saint Petersburg.
'The official marketing will begin with the opening of the showroom in Moscow in the second half of May,' said Maserati sales director Roberto Ronchi. 'But even now, we can predict selling at least 100 Ferraris and Maseratis in 2004 alone.'
'The Russian market has enormous potential,' said Ferrari Maserati Group communication director Antonio Ghini. 'But Ferrari and Maserati both want to maintain the requisite brand exclusivity and respond to spontaneous market demand without forcing it, as that wouldn't be part of the group's policy.'