Ford has officially opened a $US150 million Focus assembly in northwestern Russia and is optimistic about its future in the local market, Reuters reported.

The plant, located in the Leningrad region, will assemble 25,000 cars per year with annual capacity of 100,000, Reuters said, adding that prices will range between $US10,900 and $18,300 for the sedan with the hatchback costing $10,900-$15,000.

“The quality/price ratio will be very good for the buyer,” the Gord president for Russia and the CIS Henrik Nensen told a news conference, Reuters said.

According to Reuters, Nensen said an imported 1.6-litre Focus hatchback cost $13,900 but market research showed some 350,000 Russians would buy a Focus at the local price.

He added that Ford was also considering adding another model alongside the Focus, Reuters said.

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Citing Nensen, Reuters said Ford hoped to double overall sales in Russia in 2002 to 7,800 and boost sales to 27,000 by 2005.

Ford had increased its dealer number to 70 from 21 over the last 18 months, Reuters added.