Monday, December 08, 2008
Ford Fails In Russia
In case you wondered how the extra-continental experiences of the Big Three were going here's an answer:
"Hopes dimmed Monday that Russia and other emerging markets could help tide over the automotive industry in the U.S. and European markets as Ford Motor followed Volkswagen and Renault in suspending production at Russian assembly lines.
Although Ford's fortunes were less than glittering elsewhere, the company has over the past decade anticipated a huge surge in demand for cars in Russia. As sales fell in the United States, Russia had remained an engine of growth for imports and the domestically assembled sedans. Ford chose Moscow as the site for its largest dealership in Europe.
In fact, the Ford Focus was the best-selling brand in Russia in recent years, easily outpacing its Japanese and European competition and proving that Ford could make profits by efficiently building a compact family car.
Demand exploded so quickly that the company at one point had a six-month backlog of orders for the Focus, which is built at a plant near St. Petersburg.
The company, citing poor sales, said Monday that it would idle that plant from Dec. 24 until Jan. 21 for an extended New Year's holiday. Focus sales in October were down 30 percent from a year earlier, the news agency Interfax reported."
"When it opened in 2002, the Ford plant became the first fully owned foreign automobile assembly line in Russia. Factories for Nissan, Toyota and parts makers followed. The district around St. Petersburg now has so many such plants that it has come to be known as Russia's Detroit.
The Russian car boom seems over now. Volkswagen and Renault have also idled Russian plants for an extended winter holiday."
Umm... let me see.... unemployed Americans,... unemployed Russians, tons of nukes, WTF is next?