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RU:Ford to double Russian car sales in 2006

Ford to double Russian car sales in 2006


MOSCOW -- Ford Motor Co.'s car sales in Russia will double to an estimated 120,000 units in 2006, half of them produced locally, the head of the automaker's Russian unit said today.

Foreign car sales in Russia have been booming over the past five years as incomes rise amid record world prices for Russia's main export commodities of oil, gas and metals.

Ford is the market leader in Russia. It became the first foreign company to open a large plant in the country near the Western city of St Petersburg. But as demand for its cars rises it has to import vehicles from abroad for domestic sale.

Ford of Europe CEO John Fleming said on the sidelines of a Moscow car show the firm would boost production to 70,000 units at the Russian plant in 2007, from 60,000 cars in 2006.

Henrik Nenzen, head of Ford's Russia unit, said that apart from rising disposable incomes, fast developing retail banking services were another major factor pushing car sales up.

"It's a fantastic growth," Nenzen said. "Used cars are getting less and less popular."

He said Ford's estimates showed that new car sales in Russia would rise to around 850,000 units this year from just 46,000 in 2000. New car sales stood at 489,000 units in the first six months.

Sales of new foreign cars in Russia rose to 563,400 units in 2005, an increase of 60 percent compared to 2004, according estimates by international auditors Ernst & Young.


Nenzen also said Ford sales were being helped by a continuing appreciation of the rouble against the dollar amid a massive influx of petrodollars into the economy.

"I think this in fact helps our business a lot, because we have our prices in dollars, and if you couple that with (appreciation of) the rouble it's very favorable for the customer," he told Reuters. "It makes the market very strong, it makes consumers very willing to buy a new car."

Fleming said Ford was studying whether to add its Mondeo model to the Focus, the only model currently produced in Russia.

"Back in 2001, we were worried if we would be able to assemble about 4,000 cars in Russia," Fleming said. "Back in 1992, we sold less than 600 cars in Russia," he said. "In 2006, we can sell 200 times more."

My first car was a 67 Mustang Coupe, 2nd one was a 67 Cougar XR-7, 3rd one was a 66 Mustang Coupe. Why did I get rid of these cars for ? I know why, because I'm stupid, stupid, stupid.

My next Ford.....
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