DETROIT – U.S. sales for Subaru of America Inc. in 2007 fell short of their 2006 levels, but that was no surprise to the company.
Tom Doll, Subaru of America Inc. executive vice president today said the company initially forecasted lower sales figures for 2007 because the year was to be a transition for the companys product lineup.
We had so much of our product line in transition, Doll said at the Detroit auto show today. We had to balance out the old inventories we had in order to provide for the new ones.
Doll says he expects 2008 to be better for Subaru sales in the United States, forecasting a return to totals of around 200,000 vehicles, up from 187,000 in 2007.
Scheduled for U.S. launch in March, the redesigned and updated 2009 Subaru Forester crossover SUV is part of Subarus lineup featuring four recently updated or redesigned models.
Doll expects to sell about 60,000 2009 Forester crossovers a year in the U.S., or about 30 percent of the companys projected 2008 U.S.-sales volume. Fuji Heavy Industries Inc.-owned Subaru expects to sell 800,000 vehicles globally in 2008.
Part of the companys efforts to boost U.S. sales back to 2006 levels is to develop its dealers in the Sun Belt, Doll said.
Thats a little bit of a challenge for us because weve got to get more units in operation in those markets to make it profitable for the dealers, he said, adding that mature markets in the Pacific-Northwest, California and the Northeast will not see much expansion, but maybe some changes to the dealerships themselves.
Wed like to sell more units per outlet and that way theyd be able to invest in signature facilities and separate sales management, he said. We think that the franchise is clearly capably of selling more cars than were currently selling. Theres no reason why we shouldnt be selling 230,000-250,000 with this great product that we have.