2014 AUTOMOTIVE NEWS WORLD CONGRESS

Subaru on track for 500,000 U.S. sales by 2016, says Doll

"Our challenge over the next couple years is to make sure we have the necessary service capacity -- the lifts, service bays, technicians, better waiting rooms and loaner cars so that when customers so come in for service we have everything in place back to handle them," says Subaru of America President Tom Doll says.

Photo credit: JOE WILSSENS
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DETROIT -- Subaru of America sales will likely grow to 500,000 units by 2016 as the brand adds capacity at its only U.S. plant, said company President Tom Doll.

Subaru has been one of the fastest growing brands in the United States during the past five years. Sales last year jumped 26 percent to 424,683 vehicles.

Speaking at the Automotive News World Congress today, Doll said Subaru will "have to moderate that growth."

Subaru will focus on improving its customer service and dealer service capacity, he said. "We have sold so many cars we do not have the service structure at our retailers to handle all the vehicles coming back."

"Our challenge over the next couple years is to make sure we have the necessary service capacity -- the lifts, service bays, technicians, better waiting rooms and loaner cars so that when customers so come in for service we have everything in place back to handle them," Doll said.

Subaru expects its sales to grow 6 percent to 8 percent in 2014 to 450,000 or 460,000 units and perhaps another 7 percent to 8 percent annually the next year, he said.

Subaru does not need another factory in the United States and is expanding the capacity of its plant in Lafayette, Ind., by 100,000 units to 300,000 by 2016. The plant, which makes the Outback and Tribeca crossovers and the Legacy sedan, will also produce the Impreza four- and five-door compact.

Doll said Subaru will have a battery-electric car by 2018 to meet stringent regulations in California. Late last year, Subaru's first hybrid, the XV Crosstrek Hybrid, went on sale.

Doll said Subaru will replace its Tribeca crossover, with a true seven-seat vehicle but did not give a timetable. "We are working on it."

Subaru is not developing that vehicle jointly with its partner Toyota Motor Co., he said.

You can reach Diana T. Kurylko at dkurylko@crain.com. -- Follow Diana on Twitter


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