TOKYO (Bloomberg) -- What car company's stock has risen the most -- fivefold -- since the beginning of 2012?
Besides Tesla Motors Inc. It's Fuji Heavy Industries Ltd., maker of Subaru.
Profits and sales are heading toward records after the company benefited more than most Japanese carmakers from the weakening of the yen and as new models such as the BRZ sports car have become so popular that U.S. consumers need to wait months to get one.
The success is leading President Yasuyuki Yoshinaga to worry whether the niche maker of all-wheel-drive vehicles is getting too big.
"We're standing at a major turning point for Subaru," Yoshinaga said in an interview this week in Tokyo. "It shouldn't just be about volumes. We should be making cars only Subaru can make that are a little more expensive and more profitable than the competition."
Debates are raging internally whether to expand Subaru's lineup of cars, make a push for cheaper vehicles for markets such as India or stick to the products the company sells well, Yoshinaga said.
Executives at the company, which counts Toyota Motor Corp. as its biggest shareholder, will begin discussions this month through next year to determine the long-term direction of the Tokyo-based company, he said.
"Some people in the company may want to make mass-market products or cheaper cars, but is this really the right direction for Subaru?" Yoshinaga, 59, said. "We're not a carmaker that can grow as big as Toyota. And even if we could, reaching that sort of scale would mean we'd stop being Subaru."
Takaki Nakanishi, founder of Nakanishi Research Institute Co. and Japan's top-ranked auto analyst this year by Institutional Investor magazine, said Subaru is better off small.
"Subaru is a niche product," Nakanishi said. "They have a strong partner in Toyota, which is complementing Subaru's product development so that they can focus their strategy on being a niche player."
While the company has a midterm target of reaching 850,000 units by March 2016 and estimates deliveries will reach 1 million by the end of the decade, Subaru may be speeding ahead of schedule.
Sales climbed 13 percent to 724,000 units in the year ended March and may rise to 752,000 this fiscal year, according to the company's latest forecasts.