Ford is considering closing two plants in Russia as part of its global plan to restructure operations in unprofitable regions, three industry sources have told Reuters.
Sources said that would leave the automaker building only light commercial vehicles.
After running up fourth-quarter losses in all regions outside North America, Ford is making cuts in Europe, closing down vehicle lines in South America and laying off thousands of workers in China, Reuters noted.
In Russia, where it has capacity to produce 360,000 vehicles a year, the carmaker could close its site in the northern Leningrad region and one of its plants in the central region of Tatarstan, three industry sources told Reuters, adding no final decision had been made.
Ford builds Focus and Mondeo passenger cars in Leningrad and the EcoSport and Fiesta in Tatarstan. Production of Kuga and Explorer models may also be discontinued in Russia, the sources said.
The business in Russia is operated via a joint venture with local automaker Sollers.
A Ford Russia spokeswoman said discussions were ongoing about reorganising the local business as part of the automaker's new global strategy.
"A final decision will be made in the second quarter of 2019," the spokeswoman said. Currently, "all plants are working as normal" she said, but declined to comment on whether the plants in the Leningrad region and Tatarstan would close.
Two additional sources – a regional government official and a manager at another Russian automobile company – told Reuters Ford was considering closing the Tatarstan plant.
Ford is incurring heavy losses from its operations in Russia, two sources told Reuters.
It sold 53,234 vehicles in Russia last year, up 5.7% from 2017 but well behind the 12.8% growth in Russia's overall car market, while its market share has fallen to 3% from 3.8% in 2013.
Key competitors in Russia – Avtovaz, Volkswagen, Kia, Hyundai and Toyota – are seeing their share increase, and their sales outpace the market.
The Kuga and Explorer models are produced at a different Ford plant, also in Tatarstan. All five Reuters sources said this plant would remain open but one source said the plant would continue producing only the Transit light commercial.
Ford was the first international carmaker to launch vehicle assembly in Russia, opening a plant in St Petersburg in 2002, the report said.
In 2011, it set up a joint venture with Sollers, and the venture took out a RUB39bn (US$593m) loan from Russian bank Vnesheconombank (VEB).
VEB representatives told Reuters that Ford and Sollers were considering different options to restructure their joint business, and restructuring of the loan was also under discussion.
"VEB's relations with Ford Sollers are of a long-term, sustainable nature," the bank said. "There are no violations of any mutual obligations."