Since 1907, Ford Motor Co has played a colourful and pivotal role in the automotive history of Russia. Its presence has waxed and waned over time, but it is on the verge of launching its largest venture there. The initiative comes despite continuing softness in car demand, following the country's economic collapse in August 1998. Foreign carmakers remain interested in producing in Russia despite the turmoil, but Ford alone is persevering in opening a plant able to fully assemble autos.