Subaru to boost Lafayette plant output by 30% by fiscal 2016

Article by Anita Panait, on January 4, 2013

Subaru, a car making unit Fuji Heavy Industries Ltd., will increase production capacity at its Lafayette assembly plant in Indiana by around 30 percent by fiscal 2016, according to a report by the Nikkei business daily. The carmaker will invest around JPY20 billion ($230 million) in Subaru of Indiana Automotive Inc. to implement the capacity hike.

According to the Nikkei, Fuji Heavy plans to increase its production capacity by 30,000 vehicles by 2014. Currently, the Lafayette plant can build 170,000 units of Subaru models as well as 100,000 Camry cars for Toyota Motor Corp. However, the US spokesman for Subaru declined to confirm the report.

Fuji Heavy sold almost 330,000 vehicles in the United States in 2012, but had to import half of them from Japan. The strong yen has diluted the profitability of several models built in Japan and had exported, prompting Japanese carmakers Nissan Motor Co., Mazda Motor Corp. and others to start producing vehicles overseas.

According to the Nikkei, Fuji Heavy’s decision to hike its production capacity in the US was prompted by a forecasted increase in North American demand for its Subaru Impreza model. North America accounts for nearly half of Fuji Heavy's total sales, the business daily said. Fuji Heavy said in 2011 that it planned to hike global sales to 1 million vehicles in 10 years, according to the Nikkei.

The newspaper disclosed that currently, Fuji Heavy’s two major production plants in Indiana and in the Gunma Prefecture in Japan has the capacity to produce around 750,000 vehicles annually. Fuji Heavy has mulled constructing a new plant in Mexico, but eventually decided that increasing the capacity at the Lafayette plant was the cheaper option, Nikkei added.

Here comes the fourth generation of the Subaru Impreza, as unveiled at the 2011 New York International Auto Show. With the 2012 model marking a new generation, this new Impreza features a bolder design and new engines, complemented by refined handling, higher levels of agility and a more spacious interior.

The 2012 Impreza is designed to make driving more enjoyable. For instance, its cabin is now provided with new interior features and makes use of higher grade materials. In addition, the 2012 Subaru Impreza is now provided with new infotainment technology.

Even though the next-gen Impreza has the same external footprint as its predecessor, its interior is more spacious, thanks to the fact that the 2012 iteration features a longer wheelbase and shorter overhangs. In addition, the new passenger cabin offers a greater sense of spaciousness and better visibility.

In the United Kingdom, the 2012 Impreza is powered by a new 1.6 liter Boxer engine paired to either a five-speed manual gearbox or the second-generation Lineartronic CVT (Continuously Variable Transmission). The next generation of the Subaru Impreza features -- as standard – the so-called Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive system.

For the 2012 model year, the new Subaru Impreza dons a more aggressive and more confident design that highlights its sporty heritage as well as standard All-Wheel Drive system. When viewed in profile, the new Impreza reveals dynamic wheel arches that were first seen on the 2010 Subaru Legacy. The new Impreza also features an array 16- and 17-inch alloy wheel designs as well as a new 15-inch wheel cover.

On the front end, the new Subaru Impreza comes with new hexagonal grille with a centrally mounted Subaru badge. This sporty grille is flanked by Subaru hawk-eye headlights.

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Topics: subaru

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