To meet the demand in China, Fuji Heavy Industries Ltd. could start producing cars in China in the year starting April 1, 2012. The company makes Subaru-brand cars.
In a recent interview, President Ikuo Mori said the carmaker aims for annual sales of 100,000 units in China, where industry-wide demand for cars may jump to 20 million units in 2011 from 17 million vehicles in 2010. He adds an announcement will be made by the end of March 2011.
The initial plan had been to make an announcement at the end of 2010. Fuji Heavy’s sales in China surged 66 percent in 2010 through November to 52,039 units, boosted by the launching of the Impreza XV and Impreza WRX STI sedans in 2010 and strong sales of its Legacy model.
Mori says the carmaker is at a disadvantage with duties and taxes raising prices for imports. He estimates that a sales volume of at least 100,000 units is needed to offset the drop in profit from a 50-50 joint venture with a Chinese carmaker.
Fuji Heavy is the only Japanese carmaker that does not make cars in China. Researcher J.D. Power and Associates expects car sales in China to double to 34 million units by 2020. [via autonews - sub. required]