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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 AvtoVAZs 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 Europes 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

Friday, Aug. 22


Get ready to pledge allegiance to the flag during National Flag Day, paying tribute to when, 23 years ago today, the iconic hammer-and-sickle was replaced with the tricolor that now flutters in the wind. Petersburgers will be treated to a free concert on Palace Square, a military parade and a culminating air show featuring Russias Russian Knights stunt pilots.



Saturday, Aug. 23


Uppsala Park plays host to Fairy Noon today, a performance of five separate fairy tales ranging from folk classics to more haunting selections. There will be three different renditions of the tales throughout the day and tickets start at 500 rubles ($13.80) for adults and 300 rubles ($8.30) for children.


Classic Finnish cartoon characters the Moomins expect to receive a warm welcome from Russian fans during todays Moomin Festival at the Pearl Plaza Shopping Center at 51 Petergofskoye Shosse. Become a kid again or introduce a new generation to the beloved creation of Finnish writer Tove Jansson.



Sunday, Aug. 24


The tortured genius of Dutch master Vincent van Gogh gets his day in the centers Konnushnaya Ploschad during Make Art Like Van Gogh, a daylong celebration of the artist that will allow amateur artists to try and replicate the work that made the famed painter world-renowned.


Experience a variety of dances highlighting the diversity of the world around as at the final day of the Ethno-Dance International Dance Festival that has been at the St. Petersburg Humanitarian University of Trade Unions this past week. Tonights performance will feature Egyptian dancers accompanied by local orchestras.



Monday, Aug. 25


Today kicks off the Elena Obraztsovoy International Competition for Young Vocalists in the large hall of the Shostakovich Philharmonic. Talented youngsters will showcase their range over the next six days before a winner is chosen on Aug. 30.



Tuesday, Aug. 26


Love movies but hate all those words? Then check out Rodina Cinema Centers Factor of Consensus film forum this evening. Silent movie classics from the beginning of the 20th century will be screened and accompanied by a pianist, who will provide the soundtrack for the ongoing action. The screenings begin at 7 p.m. Check Rodinas website for more details.



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