Subaru expects U.S. sales to climb 5 percent in 2015, for a seventh straight record year, pushing North America volume to within a hair of its 2020 target -- five years ahead of schedule.
The red-hot all-wheel-drive brand said U.S. sales should grow to 540,000 vehicles this calendar year, from 514,000 in 2014.
The pace of expansion will moderate from the breakneck 21 percent jump it booked last year. But the results would hand Subaru its seventh straight year of record U.S. sales.
It would also propel Subaru to within striking range of its North American sales goal for the fiscal year ending March 31, 2021. Subaru aims to sell 600,000 vehicles in the U.S. and Canada that year. But it targets 585,000 for the region in next calendar year alone.
The relentless sales growth may increase pressure on Subaru parent Fuji Heavy Industries to speed up capacity expansion. That is especially true for the U.S., which accounts for around 62 percent of the automaker’s global sales.
Fuji Heavy President Yasuyuki Yoshinaga said in November that Subaru can expand annual capacity at its Indiana assembly plant to 400,000 vehicles. That would be enough to support regional sales of 600,000 vehicles. But bets are off for volume beyond that.
Fuji Heavy outlined its latest targets in a statement today.
As part of the announcement, Fuji Heavy said it will expand capacity at the Indiana plant to meet booming demand for the Legacy sedan (sales rose 24 percent in 2014) and Outback crossover (sales rose 18 percent in 2014). It will add 18,000 units of production firepower in the first half of the fiscal year ending March 31, 2017. That will lift annual capacity at the factory to 328,000 units by the end of 2016, it said.
Worldwide, Fuji Heavy expects sales to increase 3 percent to 940,000 vehicles in 2015. That is also just shy of the company’s 2020 global goal of 1.1 million vehicles.
China, where Subaru is one of the few global brands still without an assembly plant, will deliver the fastest growth, it said. Subaru forecast volume there to grow 10 percent to 60,000.
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