TOKYO -- Subaru will expand production capacity at its Indiana plant rather than build a new factory and will start making a new model there in 2016, the company said.
At a press conference to unveil the plans, Yasuyuki Yoshinaga, president of Subaru-maker Fuji Heavy Industries Ltd., also said Subaru expects U.S. sales to climb 9 percent to 365,000 units in 2013.
"We'll be selling 1,000 cars every day," he said.
The company expects its global sales to rise 6 percent to 750,000.
Yoshinaga said the company will finalize details of the capacity expansion by March 31.
The company is considering how to boost output at its Subaru of Indiana Automotive Inc. factory in Lafayette, its only overseas assembly plant.
It could extend the Subaru line; negotiate with Toyota Motor Corp. for more capacity from the second line, which makes Toyota Camry sedans; or add a third line.
"We are considering many options," said Jun Kondo, Fuji Heavy's deputy president and global manufacturing chief. "It was decided expanding the current plant was better than building a new one."
Subaru declined to identify the new model to be made there. But it likely will be the Impreza, the Impreza-based XV Crosstrek crossover or the Forester crossover. Those vehicles are all imported from Japan now.
The Impreza is the brand's No. 2 selling vehicle in the United States, after the Outback wagon. Impreza sales roughly doubled to 81,799 units in 2012 after the introduction of the redesigned version. The Forester ranked third, with sales of 76,347 units last year, unchanged from 2011.
The decision comes as Subaru seeks ways to boost North American output to meet booming demand for its cars there after a fourth straight year of record U.S. sales.
Yoshinaga told Automotive News in November that his company could sell 400,000 units in the United States as early as 2016, up from 336,441 in 2012. Subaru's 2012 U.S. sales rose 26 percent, well above the industrywide gain of 13 percent.
Subaru needs to build more vehicles locally partly to offset the foreign exchange losses that hobble exports from Japan.
In May, Subaru said it would boost capacity at its Indiana plant to 200,000 by mid-2014, from around 170,000 then.
The new expansion would come in addition to that.
Yoshinaga did not give a target capacity for Indiana. But in November, he said Subaru likely would need a further expansion to between 250,000 and 300,000 units a year.
In Lafayette, the Subaru line makes the Subaru Outback, Legacy and Tribeca. It has a maximum capacity of 200,000 units and has been working overtime.
The Camry line has a capacity of about 100,000.
The United States is by far Subaru's biggest market. Sales there account for 49 percent of the brand's global volume.