Fuji Heavy to stop making Camry in U.S. for Toyota in 2016

Fuji Heavy has build the Toyota Camry in Indiana since 2007.
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Editor's note: An earlier version of this story incorrectly identified the models assembled by Subaru at its Lafayette, Ind., plant.

TOKYO -- Subaru parent Fuji Heavy Industries Ltd. will stop making the Toyota Camry at its Indiana factory in the fall of 2016. Production will shift to Toyota's plant in Kentucky, the automakers said today.

The carmakers said they will continue to collaborate on products and technology.

Subaru’s Lafayette, Ind., factory, it’s only assembly plant outside Japan, has capacity for 170,000 Subarus and 100,000 Toyotas.

Subaru already had planned to boost Subaru capacity to 300,000 by the end of 2016, without affecting Toyota's production. Those plans remain in place, but with the Camry moving out, the expansion can tap the equipment and workers used by Toyota.

Toyota does not plan to build a new line or new plant at its Georgetown site to accommodate the additional Camry production, spokesman Brian Lyons said. Nor does it plan to import, he said.

But Lyons could not say how the factory, Toyota’s largest in North America, will absorb about 100,000 units of extra output.

Georgetown currently makes the Avalon, Camry and Venza, and hybrid versions of the Avalon and Camry.

Last year it was producing at its maximum capacity of 500,000. But Toyota plans to increase that capacity to 550,000 in August 2015, when Georgetown starts making the Lexus ES sedan.

Toyota notified Subaru last fall that it would like to end Camry production at the plant, formally known as Subaru of Indiana Automotive Inc.

Subaru builds the Camry there on a contract basis alongside the Subaru Outback and Legacy.

The Indiana plant began building Camrys on a dedicated line in 2007, after Toyota's purchase of an 8.7 percent stake in Fuji Heavy in 2005.

Toyota's stake has grown to 16.5 percent, making it the largest shareholder. The companies collaborate on several projects, including the Subaru BRZ and Scion FR-S sporty coupe, which was designed jointly and is built by Fuji Heavy.

The plant originally was known as Subaru-Isuzu Automotive Inc., and built Subarus and Isuzu SUVs on almost entirely separate lines. Isuzu sold its stake to Fuji Heavy on Jan. 1, 2003.

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 in 2013, marking the sixth-straight year of rising sales and the fifth year of record results.

U.S. sales soared 22 percent to 152,471 units through April, outstripping by far the overall market’s tepid 3 percent gain.

You can reach Hans Greimel at hgreimel@crain.com. -- Follow Hans on Twitter


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