Ford and Russian auto maker Sollers have signed agreements to establish a 50/50 joint venture in the country, making official a memorandum of understanding inked in February.

The new business, Ford Sollers, is set to begin production later this year of a range of Ford passenger cars and light-commercial vehicles, including the Ford Transit.

The JV’s operations will include the current Ford facility in Vsevolozhsk, as well as two Sollers facilities in the Republic of Tatarstan.

Ford of Europe CEO Stephen Odell says the new partnership will help the auto maker achieve growth objectives in Russia.

“Ford Sollers will help to build the Ford brand in Russia and support profitable growth, while also strengthening the Russian automotive industry and its local supply base,” Odell says in a statement.

Ford, in 2002, was the first foreign auto maker to return to manufacturing vehicles in Russia and last year built 80,390 units, according to Ward’s data.

The auto maker sold 90,166 LVs in 2010, earning a 4.47% share of the market.