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Strong Subaru sales might boost Indiana plant work

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Strong sales figures for Subaru could lead to increased vehicle production at a 3,600-worker central Indiana factory where it already has expansion plans.

Subaru reported August sales were up more than 35 percent from a year ago, joining other automakers in pushing U.S. sales to their highest level in three years.

Those increased sales make it likely Subaru will want more of the Outback and Legacy models built at the company's Lafayette factory, Subaru of Indiana Automotive vice president Tom Easterday told the Journal & Courier for a story Wednesday.

Subaru previously planned to build 172,000 Outback or Legacy models this fiscal year at the factory. A production boost would mean more overtime work for the plant's employees.

"Everbody's positive about it," Easterday said. "It gives everyone a very positive outlook to the future."

The company announced plans in May for a $75 million expansion that will allow the factory to build 180,000 vehicles a year without overtime, an increase of about 24,000 vehicles from current capacity. The factory produced nearly 171,000 vehicles last year by including overtime.

Subaru said then it anticipated adding up to 100 jobs by the end of 2014.

The Lafayette factory opened in 1989 and also produces Toyota Camrys.

The factory is the only one Subaru has in North America and builds more than half the Subaru vehicles sold in the continent.

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