EDITOR'S NOTE: This story has been changed to correct the spelling on the Subaru XV Crosstrek.
LAS VEGAS -- Subaru of America Inc. reassured dealers today that inventory will not be a problem in the future and that it will meet or exceed its U.S. sales goal of 320,000.
Subaru is increasing production and will provide a special allocation of vehicles to dealers located in Sun Belt states, where Subaru would like to increase sales, said Tom Doll, Subaru's COO.
"The big news is inventory, inventory, inventory," said Phil Porter, owner of Subaru of Jacksonville and Subaru of Orange Park both in Jacksonville, Fla. He also owns Center Subaru in Torrington, Conn.
Porter, the incoming chairman of Subaru's national dealer advisory board, added: "They are drafting to dealers record numbers of vehicles, but demand is outpacing it."
Subaru told dealers it has the ability to build 350,000 vehicles this year.
"We've got adequate supplies of vehicles that are going to be coming. We're producing at a 30,000-unit-a-month pace, so that should get us enough inventory," Doll said. "Every time we get vehicles out to these dealers they go and sell them so it's keeping the inventory low and keeping our demand high."
Last year Subaru sold 15,000 vehicles in the Sun Belt region, Doll said. This year Subaru wants to sell 18,000 to 20,000 vehicles there. To achieve that, Subaru will be doing some "different allocations" to Sun Belt dealers over the next 30 days.
"Sun Belt retailers need everything, so it'll be a combination of all of our car lines," Doll said. "We'll be fair to all of our retailers, but what we're going to try to do is target our Sun Belt retailers at a certain inventory level."
That inventory level will depend on the demographics of each store, Doll said.
One New England dealer says even though he's not in a Sun Belt state, he is confident he will get the inventory he needs.
"We do have cars in the right segments," said Bob Alvine, president of Premier Subaru in Branford, Conn. Alvine is the incoming vice chairman of Subaru's national dealer advisory board.
Dealer Peter Maher of Mid-Hudson Subaru in Wappingers Falls, N.Y., said he has a 20- to 30-day supply of vehicles and is confident he will get more soon.
"They are shipping cars at the highest rate they have ever shipped cars. The days supply is tight because the demand is so strong and continues to grow," Maher said.
Maher says the new 2012 Impreza sedan and hatchback is in strong demand, along with the Legacy sedan and the Outback crossover. Demand for the Tribeca SUV is on the "softer side," he said.
The day supply of the 2012 Impreza is at about 15 days, Subaru's Doll says.
Subaru told dealers it's on track to launch its BRZ sporty coupe this spring and the XV Crosstrek crossover this fall.