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Ford’s Russian Factory Halts Evening Shift Because of Heat Wave

Ford Motor Co.’s Russian venture near St. Petersburg, the nation’s second-biggest city, canceled a working shift and other carmakers ordered extra breaks after local temperatures rose to the hottest in seven years.

The evening shift at the Ford-Sollers joint-venture was halted for the first time in 11 years today after temperatures in the company’s warehouses reached 32 degrees Celsius (90 degrees Fahrenheit), union leader Andrey Kashitsyn said by phone. The factory produces Ford Focus and Mondeo cars for the Russian market. The shift may be canceled tomorrow as well if the weather stays unchanged, Kashitsyn said.

“It’s really hot inside the building,” Kashitsyn said. “Proper work is impossible as the normal temperature has to be only as high as 27 degrees.” The Ford-Sollers press service declined to immediately comment by phone.

Local factories owned by Hyundai Motor Co. and Toyota Motor Corp. set additional 10-minute breaks for each shift and supplied workers with cold water, spokesmen for the plants said. Nissan Motor Co. prolonged a lunch break, union leader Yevgeny Pavlovsky said. A General Motors plant is working “as usual,” said Victoria Chuikina, a spokeswoman for GM Russia’s production unit, said by phone.

Temperatures in St. Petersburg have risen above 30 degrees Celsius for a fourth day while the average temperature for June is 20 degrees, according to the State Weather Forecast Service’s website.

Five carmaking plants in St. Petersburg produced 168,500 cars in the first five months of 2013, or 22 percent of all Russia’s car production, according to a survey released yesterday by the AutoDealer-SPb agency.

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