Sollers Ford, a joint venture between Ford Motor Company and the Russian company Sollers, has been producing, importing, and distributing Ford branded parts and vehicles in Russia since 2011. Recently, that business has been booming, thanks in large part to the COVID-19 pandemic. In fact, Sollers Ford has nearly quadrupled its Ford Transit ambulance sales in 2020 so far, with most of those units going to the Russian Ministry of Trade and Industry, according to Realnoe Vremya.
In 2020, the ministry has purchased 4.198 billion rubles (nearly $57 million USD) worth of Transit ambulances, compared to 1.237 billion (almost $17 million USD) in 2019. While the ministry made those purchases in November of last year, this year’s took place in April as the COVID-19 pandemic was wreaking havoc on the commercial vehicle market, with sales tumbling over 40 percent.
Those vehicles were purchased in smaller lots, however, due to geographical reasons, as they were spread out across the entire country. Meanwhile, the ministry also purchased a large number of school buses as well – 647.85 million rubles worth (almost $9 million USD), with those units being spread out across the country as well.
Interestingly, the Russian government apparently didn’t attempt to negotiate these purchases, nor did they shop around. The reason for that is that the ministry notes there isn’t a suitable alternative currently offered in the country, and the Transit has an excellent reputation for reliability following years of service.
Regardless, this decision has had positive impacts in a variety of ways. For one, more ambulances were needed before the pandemic, and are in even greater demand as cases continue to rise. Secondly, the purchases helped bolster a fledgling industry, right when financial help was desperately needed.