Ford Motor Co.’s Russian joint venture is cutting about 950 jobs at two factories in response to the falling ruble and deteriorating demand in the country.
A plant near St. Petersburg will cut about 700 positions as it eliminates a shift beginning in June, John Gardiner, a spokesman for Ford in Cologne, Germany, said today by phone. About 250 temporary personnel will be let go at a factory run by Ford’s venture with OAO Sollers in Russia’s Tatarstan region.
“Ford Sollers remains absolutely committed to the Russian market and is confident it has the right product plan, people and assets to deliver long-term profitable growth,” Ford said in an e-mailed statement. The job and production cuts were caused by “the rapid and significant depreciation of the ruble, falling industry sales and a consumer shift away” from compact models in favor of sport-utility vehicles.
In Russia, the car market was on the decline even before the country’s takeover of Crimea and massing of troops on Ukraine’s borders led to the biggest crisis between Russia and NATO countries since the end of the Cold War. Deliveries shrank 4 percent in January and February, following a 5.5 percent drop in 2013 to 2.78 million vehicles.
The Ford Sollers St. Petersburg plant, which makes the Focus compact and the midsize Mondeo sedan, will also halt production for more than four weeks until single-shift operation begins on June 9 in the paint shop and final assembly hall, Gardiner said. Ford declined to comment on how much production would be reduced by the moves.
Ford’s sales in Russia this year through February fell 21 percent to 10,556 vehicles, according to the automaker.
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