With Russia’s economy in a slump, and no sign of a turn-around in sight, Ford Motor Company’s Russian unit – Ford Sollers – is looking to possibly expand its exporting in order to compensate for many months of weakened sales.
That’s the latest according to Reuters, which reports that automotive sales in Russia were down an astonishing 30 percent year-over-year through the first ten months of 2015. The Ford unit is thus left considering the same option being studied by many local automakers: turning to exports as a way of recovering lost market demand.
Ford Sollers already exports into many former Soviet markets, but the unit’s President and CEO Mark Ovenden feels the company might try and expand into more countries in Eastern Europe and beyond. “I’d like to look at it beyond a few thousand [vehicles]… and see whether there is a more strategic export opportunity for us,” said Ovenden.
Notably, Ford already has something of a presence in Eastern Europe, with a factory in Romania. But that plant doesn’t produce all the models currently built at Ford Sollers’ Russian facility. The Russian plant is capable of producing as many as 350,000 vehicles per year, but from January through October of 2015, domestic sales were limited to just 30,500 units – about 40 percent less than the same period in 2014.
That leaves Ford Sollers with a lot of untapped capacity.