Ford Motor Company is taking a good, long look at investing more in the country of Russia, confident that the automotive market can and will rebound.
Ford Sollers – the automaker’s joint-venture in the Eastern European country – has already invested some $1.5 billion into the country over the past five years, according to Bloomberg. Ford Sollers CEO Mark Ovendon says that Russia could still become the biggest market in Europe, and the automaker wants to be ready to benefit from the concurrent opportunity.
“We will continue to invest, and we are thinking now about what our next investment cycle in Russia will be,” he said in an interview. “We see Russia as a long-term play.”
Bloomberg reports that Ford Sollers continued investing in the country last year, introducing five new products and continuing to produce locally, despite a 40 percent decline in automotive sales that caused rival GM to pull out of the country entirely. The regional Ford operation is also looking at exporting products built in Russia which, thanks to a weak ruble, could pay off. If Europe’s car market at large keeps growing as expected, “there may be export opportunities, driven by the shortage of capacity in Western Europe,” says Ovendon.