Subaru to expand Lafayette plant to increase Legacy, Outback production

Article by Christian A., on May 19, 2012

Subaru will expand its Lafayette plant in Indiana to increase production of the Legacy sedan and wagon as well as the Outback crossover. The 52,000-square-foot expansion of the facility's body assembly section costs $75 million. This project will begin this summer and will raise the factory's capacity to 180,000 units during regular shifts, the automaker revealed.

Subaru said that the present limit is 156,000 vehicles on straight time. The expansion is also anticipated to bring 100 full-time jobs, according to the company. The Lafayette facility has 3,600 employees, with at least 600 jobs added since 2009. It also manufactures the Tribeca SUV as well as Toyota's Camry sedan.

The expansion confirms plans for more North American capacity, which Subaru parent Fuji Heavy Industries hinted during a May 8 press conference in Japan. Subaru recently dismissed a plan to manufacture vehicles in China by 2016.

It will focus on raising North American output instead. Aside from increasing output at its Indiana facility, Subaru may raise North American production with a new automobile line or even a new facility, Automotive News reported this week.

In 2011, at least half of Subaru's automobiles sold in North America were manufactured at the Indiana facility, which opened in 1987. The factory produced 170,629 units in the 2012 fiscal year, but overtime shifts daily and Saturday were required to reach the figure.

Another reason why Subaru has increased production in Indiana since 2010 is to offset foreign exchange rates that adversely affected profits on imported automobiles. Fuji Heavy President Yasuyuki Yoshinaga wants the Indiana facility to manufacture 200,000 units a year by 2014.

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