Subaru aims for big sales from 2014 Forester
TOKYO -- Subaru aims to lift U.S. Forester sales more than 15 percent with the launch of the redesigned, fourth-generation crossover, developed to deliver better fuel economy, more rugged looks and a roomier ride.
Yasuyuki Yoshinaga, president of Subaru-maker Fuji Heavy Industries Ltd., said Forester sales should increase 15 percent globally and even more in the critical U.S. market -- Subaru's biggest -- through the rest of the fiscal year ending March 31.
For the calendar year through October, U.S. Forester sales rose marginally to 61,880 units from 61,766 a year earlier.
The redesigned 2014 Forester will make its North American debut this week at the Los Angeles Auto Show and is expected to hit U.S. showrooms by year end.
"I said 15 percent is the average increase, but we're expecting more" in the United States, Yoshinaga said at the Forester's sales launch Nov. 13 in Japan. Globally, Subaru sold 170,000 Foresters in the fiscal year ended March 31. The projected increase would boost worldwide volume to 195,500 in the current fiscal year.
Subaru plans to release exact U.S. sales targets, prices and fuel economy figures in Los Angeles.
The new Forester is about the same size as the outgoing version. But it gets more interior space, in part because Subaru pulled the A-pillar forward. The windshield has a more raked profile and the front fascia gets more chiseled features.
The U.S. version will also get Subaru's EyeSight camera-activated precrash safety system as an option. That feature debuted in the United States in August in the Legacy sedan.
Subaru said the redesigned Forester achieves better fuel economy than its predecessor, but executives declined to give specifics.
Chief engineer Takuji Dai said the Forester would continue to be made solely at Fuji Heavy's Yajima plant in Gumma prefecture. But he said the company would consider U.S. production, depending on demand and the movement of exchange rates, which lately have been undermining profit margins on vehicles exported from Japan.
You can reach Hans Greimel at firstname.lastname@example.org. -- Follow Hans on