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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

Saturday, Oct. 25


AVA Expo, the eighth edition of the event revolving around all things pop, returns to Lenexpo this weekend. Geeks, nerds, dweebs and dorks will have their chance to talk science fiction and explore a variety of international pop culture. Tickets for the event can be purchased on their website at avaexpo.ru.



Sunday, Oct. 26


Zenit St. Petersburg returns home for the first time in nearly a month as they host Mordovia Saransk in a Russian Premier League game. Currently at the top of the league thanks to their undefeated start to the season, the northern club hopes to extend the gap between them and second-place CSKA Moscow and win the title for the first time in three years. Tickets are available at the stadium box office or on the club’s website.



Monday, Oct. 27


Today marks the end of the art exhibit “Neophobia” at the Erarta Museum. Artists Alexey Semichov and Andrei Kuzmin took a neo-modernist approach to represent the array of fears that are ever-present throughout our lives. Tickets are 200 rubles ($4.90).



Tuesday, Oct. 28


The Domina Prestige St. Petersburg hotel plays host to SPIBA’s Marketing and Communications Committee’s round table discussion on “Government Relations Practices in Russia” this morning. The discussion starts at 9:30 a.m. and participation must be confirmed by Oct. 24.



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