Fuji Heavy Industries, owned 20 percent by General Motors, wants to sell 120,000 new Subaru Forester SUVs worldwide in the all-new model’s first year, Reuters reported.

“We’re looking for 120,000, which will be a little more than the old Forester, which sold some 110,000 at its peak,” Subaru executive vice president for sale Hideo Wada told the news organisation at the Japanese launch of the vehicle.

The new Forester, based on the Impreza platform, was first unveiled at the Chicago motor show last week, perhaps reflecting the monthly sales target reported by Reuters of 5,000 in the US and 3,000 in Japan. It is also popular across Europe, especially in the UK, and in Australia.

“Demand is looking quite resilient in North America and it might go as high as 5,500 units,” Wada told Reuters.

He added that likely better-than-expected US demand also meant the company was revising down its outlook for 2002 average sales incentives per vehicle to around $760 to $780 from over $800.

Reuters said the box-shaped, five-seat Forester, a key model in the niche maker’s limited line-up of five products, would be priced from 1.785 million yen ($US13,390) in Japan, much the same as the old one despite additional features on the new model.

The company hoped to do the same in North America, where it is priced from around $20,000 to $25,000, Wada told Reuters.