Subaru to Expand Production at Indiana Facility, Won't Build A New Factory

By Trevor Dorchies | January 16, 2013
Subaru has announced that, instead of building a bigger production facility, it will be staying in the current one it uses in Lafayette, Ind. by expanding production capabilities. A new model is scheduled to begin assembly there in 2016, as well. While nothing is confirmed yet, all things point to either the new Impreza being built there or perhaps the Impreza-based XV or even the Forester. The automaker is also expecting to see U.S. sales increase 9 percent to 365,000 units this year according to Yasuyuki Yoshinaga, president of Subaru's parent company, Fuji Heavy Industries Inc. Yoshinaga expects to move 1,000 vehicles a day under this estimation. Globally, Subaru expects sales to rise 6 percent and hit 750,000 units. Final estimates will be made known by March 31 and an announcement is expected shortly after. Just exactly how Subaru plans to expand its Indiana facility remains to be unseen, but there are several ideas being considered currently. One solution would be to add a couple of assembly lines while another idea was to extend the current line that solely handles Subaru products. The third idea pointed at borrowing capacity from a second line that builds Toyota's Camry. As it stands now, the Lafayette plant has two assembly lines responsible for production of the Outback, Legacy, and Tribeca with a maximum capacity reaching 200,000 units. The assembly line tasked with building the Toyota Camry can roll out around 100,000 units, too. The decision to expand the Lafayette facility comes after four consecutive years of sales growth in the United States. If it comes to fruition that the Impreza will, in fact, be built in Indiana, it will be one less vehicle Subaru imports from Japan. Currently, the Impreza, Forester, and XV are all imported from Japan. Last year, the Impreza was Subaru's second best-selling vehicle stateside behind the Outback wagon. Subaru saw Impreza sales almost double in 2012 to 81,799 units after the fourth-generation model was introduced. The Forester rounded out Subaru's sales podium with 76,347 units sold last year.  The United States is unquestionably Subaru's biggest market with sales totaling 49 percent of the automaker's global sales.
Source: Automotive News (subscription required)