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Lafayette key to Subaru ending dealer shortages, exec says

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Fuji Heavy Industries Ltd., the Japanese maker of Subaru cars, intends to end a shortage of its vehicles at U.S. dealerships soon by expanding capacity in the country, its largest market.

The carmaker produces Outback wagons, Legacy sedans and Tribeca sport-utility vehicles in Indiana at its plant in Lafayette, where it also makes Camry sedans for Toyota Motor Corp. under contract.

“We are finalizing plans to strengthen U.S. production,” CEO Yasuyuki Yoshinaga told reporters in Tokyo on Wednesday. He said the Tokyo-based carmaker will probably announce the plan next month when it reports annual earnings. The statement confirmed previous reports about Subaru expanding output.

Fuji Heavy, which boosted U.S. sales 20 percent to a record last year, plans to increase annual global deliveries to 850,000 by March 2016, based on plans to increase capacity in the United States.

The Lafayette plant opened in 1989, initially as a joint venture with truckmaker Isuzu Motors Ltd. The factory can produce a maximum of 310,000 vehicles annually, based on state air-pollution limits, according to the carmaker. About 3,600 people work at the plant.

“Our dealers in the U.S. are waiting for an answer on when this situation of not having enough cars will be solved, so we hope to provide an answer soon,” Yoshinaga said.

Fuji Heavy shares have gained 62 percent this year, compared with a 27-percent advance for the benchmark Nikkei 225 Stock Average.

 

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  • Subaru Dealer Shortages
    One has to wonder why Subaru doesn't cancel it's contract with Toyota and start building additional Subaru vehicles now. Why does Subaru continue to build vehicles for another manufacturer when it appears to be having difficulty supplying it's own dealerships with it's own vehicles.

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