Ford Focus ST estate driven in Russia
Matt Jones shows our hot hatch of the year around its new home…
Posted: 22 May 2013
But despite the fact that Ford's blue oval is an enduring symbol of capitalism, the manufacturer isn't new to Russia. It was the first foreign company to set up full production, signing an agreement with the Soviet Union in May 1929. The deal was that the Soviets would buy $13 million of cars, but Ford had to stay put until '38 and supervise construction of a plant in Nizhny Novgorod, 249 miles east of Moscow.
The first car - a Model A-alike - rolled off the production line on 1 January 1932 wearing a complement of NAZ (for Nizhegorodsky Avtomobilny Zavod) and Ford badges. Eighty years later, and the odd fundamental regime change in between, production in St Petersburg is up to 125,000 units annually. And output's set to triple over the next six years, with the Focus - Russia's best-selling home-built car made by a non-domestic manufacturer - leading the charge.