The 250,000th Russian-built Ford Focus rolled off the production line today at the Ford plant in Vsevolozhsk, near St. Petersburg.

The car, a silver 1.8 litre Ghia Wagon, will be delivered to a customer in Moscow.

The Ford Focus has been Russia's best-selling foreign car for the past five consecutive full years.

"We were the very first foreign manufacturer to open our own production facility in Russia and when the first locally-built Focus was built at Vsevolozhsk in 2002, the plant had an annual production capacity of 25,000 cars," said John Fleming, president and CEO, Ford of Europe.

"In order to keep pace with demand from customers in Russia, that figure has risen today to 75,000, and it will rise again to 125,000 in 2009, when the Ford Mondeo will also be produced at the plant," he added.

To support this production increase, the plant is currently recruiting 1,300 new employees, raising the total number of people employed at the plant to 3,500 by the end of this year.

The Ford Focus is built in Russia in four body styles: three-door, four-door, five-door and wagon, with a choice of five engines, automatic and manual transmissions and in a choice of three trim series.

Sales of the Ford Focus in Russia are up by 25 per cent in the first six months of this year to 46,335 versus the same period in 2007. Total Ford vehicle sales in Russia to the end of June are up 20 per cent to 97,626 when compared to the first half of last year. By contrast, the company sold just 1,363 vehicles in Russia in 2000.

With more than five million examples produced in Europe since it was launched in 1998, the Ford Focus has won over 80 awards in Europe alone. The Focus has been a major influence on the automotive world and continues to be one of the key pillars of Ford of Europe's product-led growth.