Subaru: Sales could hit 400,000 in 2013
ORLANDO -- Subaru of America targets 365,000 sales this year, but the total could go as high as 400,000, said COO Tom Doll.
Last year Subaru sold 336,441 vehicles, an increase of 26 percent and the fifth straight year of increased sales.
"We have been volume constrained for the past couple of years, and that is slowly starting to right itself," Doll told dealers at the make meeting.
By 2016, Subaru's plant in Lafayette, Ind., will get an additional assembly line, and capacity will increase by as much as 100,000 units, dealers were told.
Subaru of America has received extra units because of slower demand in China and the downturn in Europe, said Phil Porter, owner of a Subaru store in Torrington, Conn. and two in Jacksonville, Fla.
"As you go forward, you can't depend on those markets staying depressed," he said.
Executives said Subaru would continue to increase sales in the Sun Belt. Sales in that region rose to 12 percent of the brand's U.S. total, up from 10 percent a year earlier.
Subaru told dealers a hybrid vehicle will be unveiled at the New York auto show next month and will go on sale by the end of the year. Porter said Subaru did not disclose which model will get the hybrid powertrain.
Dealers asked about a seven-seat vehicle, but didn't learn much. "The big elephant in the room is the seven-passenger," Porter said. "We got a no-answer answer that they are working diligently to announce something to us as soon as possible."
Doll said a decision on a replacement for the Tribeca crossover isn't likely for at least a year. "We and they understand we have a doughnut hole with the seven passenger, and we have to fix that," he said.
Addressing a dealer concern, Subaru said retailers will get results of customer service e-mail surveys more quickly. Doll said: "We gather a lot of information when owners are serviced, and they want reports faster so they know how to fix something quicker."
• U.S. plant capacity will increase by 100,000 units by 2016
• Dealers will get service survey information faster
You can reach Diana T. Kurylko at email@example.com. -- Follow Diana on