US: Subaru to increase Indiana plant capacity by 15%
Subaru maker Fuji Heavy Industries said it would increase production capacity at its Lafayette, Indiana, plant by 15% due to growing demand for the Outback crossover vehicle and Legacy car.
Subaru said a US$75m, 52,000 sq ft expansion of the plant's body assembly area was scheduled to begin this summer, Reuters reported. The expansion, which will include changes to the plant's paint section, will boost annual capacity during regular shifts to 180,000 vehicles from 156,000 now.
The expansion will create 100 additional jobs, Subaru said. The plant, which also builds the Tribeca SUV and the Toyota Camry sedan on contract, currently employs 3,600 people.
Fuji lowered its global sales targets on 8 May, saying plans to build cars in China had hit a regulatory snag. At that time, it said it would add capacity at U.S. and Japanese factories by a combined 45,000 vehicle per year by mid-2014. It also said it would consider further expansion in North America.
The Indiana plant built 170,629 vehicles in the 2012 fiscal year, including overtime shifts. Fuji president Yasuyuki Yoshinaga said this month that Subaru would boost production capacity there to 200,000 vehicles a year by summer 2014.
Subaru sales in the United States have risen 42% since 2008, to 266,989 vehicles last year. In that same period, sales of the Indiana-built Legacy and Outback have increased 87% and more than doubled, respectively.
Its April sales rose 2.2% to 26,310 units and 15.9% to 106,878 in the first four months of 2012, according to WardsAuto.com data.