Lean inventories for Subaru
Porter: “A wonderful problem”
Subaru dealers want more units to sell, but the current shortages aren't likely to end until the company adds U.S. production capacity, says Phil Porter, chairman of the Subaru National Dealer Advisory Board.
"It is a wonderful problem, but a problem," said Porter, owner of Subaru stores in Torrington, Conn., and Jacksonville, Fla.
Subaru of America supplies dipped to 18 days last year. Parent Fuji Heavy Industries has boosted production in Japan, but Porter said it needs to expand its plant in Lafayette, Ind., which produces the Legacy, Outback and Tribeca.
The new Japan-built BRZ rear-wheel-drive coupe developed with Toyota is "nearly impossible to keep in inventory," said Porter.
Dealer allocation initially was based on 2011 sales of the WRX and STI, performance versions of the Impreza compact, said Porter.
"I can't tell you what an average dealer got," he said. "It was certainly in the single digits" per month.
Subaru of America said it will receive 6,000 BRZs in the first year of production. Sales began in April.
Scion dealers got a bigger supply of the car. Last year Subaru sold 4,144 BRZs and Scion sold 11,417 units of FR-S. The BRZ has a base price of $26,265 and the Scion starts at $25,255. Prices include shipping.
Porter says he doesn't know if Subaru dealers are losing business to Scion because of the BRZ shortage. But he said BRZ shoppers are not asking for discounts because of the lower FR-S price: "The sense that I get from people I have spoken to is they like the cars a little better equipped."
An additional 2,000 BRZ were allocated to the United States for sale through the first quarter. A Subaru of America spokesman said there is no word on whether there will be additional supply for the remainder of 2013.
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