There is no stopping Subaru in the United States, even if it forecasting a modest sales growth of around 5 percent for this year to 540,000 vehicles. While that would be a drop from the 21-percent surge in sales the Subaru posted in 2014, that gain still represents the carmaker’s seventh straight year of record growth.
In fact, that may allow Subaru to achieve its sales target for fiscal year ending March 31, 2021 -- around 600,000 vehicles in the US and Canada – five years ahead of schedule. Subaru is targeting to sell around 585,000 vehicles in North America in 2016. Subaru’s seemingly persistent growth may pressure its parent, Fuji Heavy Industries, to expand production capacity faster than expected.
With around 62 percent of Subaru’s global volume coming from the US, there would be a need to expand capacity in or near the country to support 600,000 vehicles in regional sales. In November, Fuji Heavy President Yasuyuki Yoshinaga said that Subaru can increase annual capacity at its Indiana assembly site to 400,000 vehicles.
In its most recent announcement, Fuji Heavy said it will hike capacity at the Indiana site to meet increasing demand for the Legacy sedan (plus 24 percent in 2014) and Outback crossover (plus 18 percent in 2014).
As planned, Subaru will hike the site’s capacity by 18,000 units in the first half of the fiscal year ending March 31, 2017, which means the plant could produce up to 328,000 units by the end of 2016.
Subaru’s global sales growth for 2015, however, is expected to be paler at 3 percent to 940,000 vehicles. Despite that modest forecast, the figure is just 160,000 short of its 2020 target at 1.1 million vehicles.