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Ford Cuts 700 Jobs in St. Petersburg Plant

Published: April 3, 2014 (Issue # 1804)



  • Ford is cutting staff and output in Russia due to a shrinking market and weak ruble, following AvtoVAZ’s lead.
    Photo: Yekaterina Kuzmina / Vedomosti

U.S. carmaker Ford's joint venture in Russia has decided to trim staff and output at its two plants as the market is contracting and the ruble is losing value.

Ford has taken one of the biggest hits from the weakening demand. Sales of the joint venture, Ford Sollers, plummeted 18 percent last year, compared to 2012, and has continued to decline rapidly so far this year.

“We regret that the company has to reduce personnel. However, this measure is required to ensure the company's further development in current conditions,” Ford Sollers CEO Ted Cannis said in comments e-mailed by the company.

The joint venture is moving to single shift production at its plant in Vsevolozhsk, near St. Petersburg, as of June, cutting 700 jobs, or about a third of the workforce, it said. The plant, which makes the Focus compact car and the Mondeo sedan, will also halt production for several weeks in April, May and June, Vedomosti reported.

The other plant, in Yelabuga, Tatarstan, will lay off 250 temporary employees, Bloomberg reported. It will also move to a single-shift production schedule, Vedomosti said.

The Vsevolozhsk plant produced almost 69,000 cars last year, down 36 percent, while the Yelabuga plant produced 20,400 cars, up 300 percent, and 14,000 minivans, up 30 percent.

In cutting staff, Ford Sollers is following in the footsteps of AvtoVAZ, which also announced earlier this year that it was downsizing its workforce in the wake of a dramatic drop in sales last year.

Yet, Ford Sollers sounded upbeat about the future of its Russian operation, saying it still expected the country to become Europe’s largest auto market in the longer term.

The company commended itself for tapping the fast-growing sport utility vehicle, or SUV, segment last year by launching production of Explorer and Kuga in Yelabuga. This year, the company plans to start building the EcoSport small SUV and the new Transit commercial vehicle, it said. It is also on track to start production at a refurbished assembly plant in Naberezhnye Chelny in Tatarstan.

The new Focus and all-new Mondeo go into production in St. Petersburg in 2015, it said.





 


ALL ABOUT TOWN

Thursday, July 24


Liliana Modiliani, a well-known Russian stylist, will talk about choosing clothes that fit during her lecture at 7 p.m. at the Pryamoy Efir art club, 13 Viborgskoe Shosse.



Friday, July 25


Discuss Russia’s economic and political prospects for 2014 during a Business Breakfast organized by SPIBA at 9.30 a.m. in the Bank Saint-Petersburg office at 64


Malookhtinsky Prospekt.


Start your weekend with adorable miniature pigs at the Squealing Pig festival at 7 p.m. this evening in the Karl & Friedrich restaurant, 15 Iozhnaya doroga, on Krestovsky Island.



Saturday, July 26


Hundreds of brand-new and retro cars, drag and drift shows, test drives and karting are planned for the Avtobum-2014 festival, which will take place in front of the RIO shopping center at 2 Fuchika Ulitsa.


Participants in today’s SaniDay Summer competition will impress visitors with their hand-made, unusual and hilarious boats, which will race at the Igora Resort near the 54th kilometer on Priozerskoe Shosse.


Metro Family Day will include both serious lectures for adults and master-classes for children, making the event interesting for the whole family. To participate, come to Kirov Park on Yelagin Island.


Photography will be the focus of today’s Photosubbota, which features lectures by famous photographers, meetings with photo schools and studio representatives, and participation in a photography competition. The event starts at noon at Petrokongress, 5 Lodeynopolskaya Ulitsa.


If you like cycling, make sure to visit the Za Velogorod Festival with its retro bike exhibition, market and live music. The second round of the Leningrad Criterium race will also take place during the event at Petrovsky Arsenal in Sestroretsk.



Sunday, July 27


Navy Day will be celebrated with a weapon and military transportation exhibition, self-defense master classes and concerts. The event starts at 1 p.m. in the 300th Anniversary Park of St. Petersburg.



Monday, July 28


Don’t miss a chance to see the latest achievements in robotics during the RoboDom interactive show, exhibiting more than 150 robots. The show will be at BUM center, 22/2 Gzhatskaya Ulitsa, until Aug. 3. The entrance ticket costs 350 rubles ($10).



Tuesday, July 29


A video of a Queen concert from 1986 will be shown today at 8 p.m. in Yaschik, 50/13 Ligovsky Prospekt.



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