LAFAYETTE, Ind. -- They've removed the large Rodeo/Axiom sign that hung at the end of Subaru of Indiana Automotive Inc.'s trim and final production line and replaced it with one bearing the name B9 Tribeca.
They've cleared the plant's lobby of Isuzu logos and cars and reprinted business cards minus the Isuzu name in the e-mail address.
The sharing is over.
Since last July, the 820-acre Subaru of Indiana site off Interstate 65, just south of Lafayette, Ind., has been dedicated to one manufacturer and one mission. For the first time in nearly 20 years, Subaru controls its own destiny here, complete with retooled assembly lines, flexible manufacturing systems and exclusive engine and technical work.
Following Isuzu's U.S. sales downturn, the Japanese automaker has departed from the Indiana joint-venture plant. All remnants of Isuzu's presence here have been transformed, knocked down or bulldozed, clearing the path for a new series of Subaru vehicles and a more focused future.
Subaru's new seven-seat sport wagon, the B9 Tribeca, is rolling down a dedicated line. Refreshed versions of the Legacy sedan and wagon and Outback wagon are on the way. A Subaru-like Saab is planned for production within the next year.
"I don't know another plant our size that has had as much change in the last couple of years," says Tom Easterday, senior vice president at Subaru of America. "Now everyone knows clearly what the company objectives are. We are not waiting for two parents to decide what is best for us."
Not everything here has been that simple.