For the first time, the Ford Explorer will be produced from the ground up outside of the United States to meet the increasing demand around the world. The first full-production Ford Explorer rolled off Ford Sollers Elabuga Assembly Plant in the Republic of Tatarstan.
The Explorers produced by the Sollers Elabuga Assembly Plant will be sold exclusively to the Russian market. It will be manufactured at the same high level of efficiency and to the same quality standards as those built at the Chicago Assembly plant.
"Russia is on its way to being the largest market in Europe and presents an enormous opportunity for growth," said Ted Cannis, president and CEO of Ford Sollers. "We anticipate SUV sales to continue to grow as Russian customers prefer the image and performance these utility vehicles provide in severe weather and challenging road conditions."
As production at Elabuga ramps up, Ford Sollers plans to hire an additional 500 employees to supplement the plant's existing 1,500 employees. Chicago Assembly Plant will continue to produce Explorers for the U.S. and more than 60 other countries around the world.
"With our partner Sollers, we were able to take the best practices from Chicago Assembly Plant as well as our other SUV plants around the world, and combine them with our latest advances in the Ford Production System to ensure we achieved world-class quality and significantly reduced lead times of one to two years," said John Fleming, executive vice president, Global Manufacturing and Labor Affairs.
The Explorers built in Elabuga will be for the Russian market only, to help ease the burden of the Chicago assembly plant to supply Explorers to worldwide customers, including the Philippines.