TOKYO -- Subaru said its U.S. auto production will limp along at 80 percent of normal levels until summer and gradually ramp up to normal by November.
Ikuo Mori, CEO of Subaru parent Fuji Heavy Industries Ltd., said the automaker is assembling vehicles with parts in inventory and that new deliveries should begin around “summer break,” traditionally in August in Japan.
Subaru builds the Legacy, Outback and Tribeca in Lafayette, Ind. The factory also builds the Toyota Camry on a separate production line.
“When the parts start coming in again, it’s still unclear what kind of recovery curve we will see,” Mori said today while delivering the company’s full-year earnings report.
Still, Mori said he expects global output to reach pre-earthquake levels by November.
Like other Japanese automakers, notably Toyota and Honda, Subaru is struggling to restore output at home and abroad following the March 11 earthquake and tsunami that hammered Japan’s supply chain.
Its Japanese assembly plants are operating at limited output. Subaru also has suspended output on select days and shortened production shifts at the Indiana factory to conserve parts.
Mori said production at the Indiana plant dropped to 60 percent of normal levels in April and should return to 80 percent in May and likely stay there through summer.
Factory disruptions cost Subaru 15,000 units in lost sales from March 11 through March 31, when the automaker’s fiscal year ended. The company lost 29,000 units of output during that period.
Fuji Heavy booked a 7.4 billion yen ($89.3 million) charge in the fourth quarter to cover quake-related costs, including 2.5 billion yen ($30.2 million) to repair plant facilities and dealerships.