Ford, while cutting jobs and closing plants in North America, will add 1,500 workers at a Russian factory to increase production by almost 75%.

Moscow-based spokeswoman Ekaterina Kulinenko told Bloomberg News Ford plans to boost capacity at the Vsevolozhsk plant near St. Petersburg to 125,000 vehicles next year.

The factory produces the Focus, Russia’s best- selling foreign-brand car in 2007 and will start making the midsized Mondeo this year, Kulinenko reportedly said. The plant now employs 2,074 people and has begun a recruitment campaign, Ford said.

Bloomberg noted that Ford is looking to Russia and other eastern European countries to increase sales at Ford of Europe. The unit sold 1.92m cars and trucks in 2007, an increase of 72,000 from the previous year.