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Interesting development today as Ford announced it was planning a joint venture with well established Russian automaker Sollers.

The latter was well involved with Fiat and Ssangyong and I seem to recall some Kia involvement at one point, too, but it now appears Fiat has exited, stage left, and a bright new future exists in the east for Ford, which already has form in the St Petersburg region.

Rival GM also has ventures in the region and Ford, a relative latecomer, is eyeing expansion opportunities in China as it looks to overhaul its joint venture relationships.

Looks like some of the developing markets are really only just getting started.

An interesting story from BMW: the, ahem, older workers’ factory. The idea, apparently, is to make working conditions better with the aim of encouraging older workers to stay longer, and not lose the skills and knowledge built up over decades.

This makes sense; decades ago I knew a CKD assembly engineer who would offer line workers gearing up to build a new model the choice of the automaker’s instructions from the assembly manual or nutting the task out their way. Someone would recall a cunning shortcut previously worked out, usually for a rival automaker’s car, and that’s how they’d do that job on that new model – quicker and cheaper than ‘the book’. You don’t want to lose that sort of expertise – which can take years of costly training to achieve – any earlier than you have to.

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By GlobalData

A certain Mr Marchionne managed to stay in the news all week – again – and a famous old Italian marque is getting a new home.

Ask Dr Zetsche how 2010 went and the reply would be favourable and it looks like the European problem of ‘misfuelling’ has gone Stateside.

Have a nice weekend.

Graeme Roberts

Deputy Editor