Ford plans to start producing Mondeo cars at its Russian plant sometime in the fourth quarter of this year, the company has said in a statement.

Ford Mondeo hatchbacks and station wagons will still be imported to Russia.

The Ford plant is located in the city of Vsevolzhsk (near St Petersburg) in the Leningrad Region and currently produces Ford Focus cars.

In 2009, the plant is expected to produce up to 25,000 Ford Mondeo sedans.

Speaking at the Moscow Motor Show last month Ford of Europe vice president of public affairs, Ian Slater, said: "We were the first non-domestic car brand to set up production in Russia and with the biggest investment. We're on track to build 100,000 Focus and 25,000 Mondeos per year although it's the SUV segment which currently enjoys the biggest percentage growth."

Ford's St Petersburg plant produced 75,000 Focus models in 2007.

There has been some media speculation that Ford may also seek to add production of the Kuga small SUV in Russia.