Ford to halt production in Russia for 1 month

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Ford Motor Co. will halt production at its sole Russian assembly plant for one month as the financial crisis dents consumers' demand for cars, a company official said Monday.

The plant near St. Petersburg will be idle from Dec 24. to Jan. 24, extending the usual holiday period by two weeks, spokeswoman Yekaterina Kulinenko said.

"The decision was made due to the situation on the market and declining demand," she said.

Ford, which produces about 75,000 cars a year in Russia, is the second foreign auto maker to announce a cutback in production.

France's Renault has also announced an extra two-week holiday in December.

Foreign automakers have been looking to high demand in Russia to bolster flagging sales in the more saturated Western markets, but those hopes have dimmed somewhat as the country's economic growth has been hurt the financial crisis.

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