TOKYO -- After stumbling in China, Subaru is doubling down on North America.
The brand has abandoned a plan, rolled out just 10 months ago, to start building cars in China by 2016. Instead, Subaru will pour its efforts into expanding in the United States, its biggest market.
The overhauled strategy, unveiled at the company's May 8 earnings press conference, calls for boosting output at its Indiana plant and possibly adding North American production capacity in the form of a new line or even a new factory.
Meanwhile, Subaru has lifted its U.S. sales target to 380,000 vehicles a year by its 2016 fiscal year, from a goal of 350,000 last year.
The shift follows Subaru's failure to win approval from Chinese authorities to set up a local joint venture with Chery Automobile Co.
Yasuyuki Yoshinaga, president of Fuji Heavy Industries Ltd., which makes Subaru vehicles, said he still wants to build vehicles in China, the world's biggest auto market. But he no longer is counting on doing it by 2016.
"We will prioritize expanding production in America while we watch the situation in China and consider what to do there when there are some developments," Yoshinaga said.
Last July, Yoshinaga unveiled a mid-term business plan that called for selling 180,000 vehicles in China by the fiscal year ending March 31, 2016. Subaru aimed to build 150,000 of those in China.
Now Subaru plans to sell only 100,000 by then -- all imports.
Subaru wants to make up some of the shortfall in its global sales goals in North America. Its revised target boosts annual North American sales to 410,000 units by the fiscal year ending March 31, 2016, from an earlier target of 380,000. U.S. sales are seen climbing to 380,000 vehicles in that period, from an earlier objective of 350,000.
Subaru plans to sell 324,000 vehicles in the United States in the current fiscal year ending March 31, 2013. That would be a 16 percent increase over 280,400 sold in the fiscal year that just ended.