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Ford Driving Carefully In Russia

Ford Motor Co., which has just sealed a US$3 million deal to supply 1,500 transit minibuses to Russia from its new assembly plant in Minsk, Belarus, is being cautious with investments in the former Iron Curtain countries. Eager not to be caught by any contraction in eastern Europe's markets, it's shying away from huge greenfield projects or what it considers risky joint ventures with local partners. Ford hopes, however, to invest $250 million in a manufacturing project near the Russian city of St. Petersburg, says Neil Campbell, Ford's general manager in Minsk. Capacity at St. Petersburg is pegged at 150,000 vehicles a year.

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