TOKYO -- Fuji Heavy Industries Ltd. may build a Subaru minivan for sale in global markets, including the United States.
The seven-seat minivan would offer Subaru features: all-wheel drive and a boxer engine, says Ikuo Mori, chief general manager of Fuji Heavy's overseas sales and marketing division. Fuji owns Subaru.
"Given our company size, we need to make it a global car," Mori says. He declines to say when the minivan might be ready for the United States.
Subaru sells four cars in the United States: the Baja, Forester, Impreza and Legacy, and one light truck: the B9 Tribeca
In Japan, the minivan would be a replacement for the Subaru Traviq, a rebadged Opel Zafira that General Motors assembled in Thailand. GM stopped building the minivan for Subaru in December, about three years after Fuji Heavy sold it in Japan.
Last year, Traviq sales here plunged 36.1 percent from a year earlier to 1,847. Fuji Heavy said sales were poor because the minivan lacked Subaru specialties, all-wheel drive and a boxer engine.
Meanwhile, Mori says the company plans to freshen the Legacy in 2007 and redesign it in 2009. The Legacy is Subaru's best seller in the United States.
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