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Ford signs USSR deal

A historic agreement between Ford Motor Company and the Soviet Union is signed on this day in 1929 stating that Ford will begin to produce cars in the USSR, which was eager to create jobs in the automotive industry. The agreement was signed in Dearborn, Michigan, by Ford executives and Valery U. Meshlauk, vice chairman of the Supreme Council of National Economy, represented the Soviets. The deal stated that Ford would oversee construction of a production facility at Nizhni Novgorodto to manufacture Model As. An assembly plant would also begin operations immediately in Moscow. In return, the USSR agreed to buy 72,000 unassembled Ford vehicles along with all the spare parts they would require for nine years, a total of some $30 million worth of products. Ford would also send engineers and executives to the Soviet Union. Henry Ford thought the best way to undermine communism was to introduce capitalism, which is why he had no qualms in doing business in the USSR, a country not formally recognized by the U.S. government during diplomatic negotiations. A May 1929 New York Times article quoted Ford saying, “No matter where industry prospers, whether in India or China, or Russia, all the world is bound to catch some good from it.” The first Fords wouldn’t be assembled in the USSR until 1932. Photo:The first Ford assembled under license in the USSR leaves the GAZ factory in 1932.

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