As the only major Japanese carmaker without a plant in China, Fuji Heavy Industries Ltd. has quite a small exposure in the world's largest vehicle market. So when a territorial dispute between China and Japan erupted, most Chinese consumers stopped patronizing Japanese products. Japanese carmakers with heavy exposure to China posted heavy losses.
But not Fuji Heavy, the maker of Subaru cars. The carmaker has jumped 83% in Tokyo trading this year for the biggest increase on the Nikkei 225 Stock Average. It seems that Fuji Heavy's smaller exposure in China has helped shelter it from the consumer backlash caused by the dispute.
Fuji Heavy President Yasuyuki Yoshinaga acknowledged that selling cars in China is “difficult now." Yoshinaga said that Fuji Heavy can cover its losses in China by producing more cars for Japan and the U.S. While other Japanese carmakers temporarily halted production in China in October due to dwindling sales, Fuji Heavy was able to deliver more cars to the US and Japan, where waiting times have been pushed to six months for its $25,495 BRZ sports car and two months for the $17,895 Impreza hatchback.
The high demand for its cars in the US and Japan allowed Fuji Heavy to increase its full-year profit forecast by 40%, while Honda and Nissan cut their 2012 earnings prediction by a fifth. In 2011, Yoshinaga said he felt his perseverance was being "tested" after failing to receive approval for Fuji Heavy’s proposed joint venture with Chery Automobile Co. Chinese authorities had pulled back since Toyota Motor Corp., which operates two joint ventures in China, is Fuji Heavy's largest shareholder with a 16.5% stake.