SAN FRANCISCO -- Subaru of America won't add dealers because it wants throughput per dealer to grow to 1,000 units annually.
That's one of the most important messages delivered during the make meeting here, dealers said. To meet that target, Subaru sales would have to grow to at least 617,000 units annually. Subaru did not give a year for reaching this target.
Dealers told the factory they want more vehicles as the brand begins what promises to be another record year.
Subaru has had seven years of consecutive U.S. sales growth and significantly outpaced the market last year with record sales of 513,693 vehicles.
"The issue is capacity, and we were told if they're available, you will get them," said Phil Porter, owner of Subaru stores in Torrington, Conn., and Jacksonville, Fla.
At their make meeting, Subaru executives told dealers that U.S. sales are expected to grow by 5 percent to 540,000 units in 2015 -- slower than last year's 21 percent increase.
The only thing holding back sales is factory constraints, said Bob Alvine, the head of the Subaru National Dealer Advisory Board.
Production capacity at Subaru's factory in Lafayette, Ind., will be expanded by 100,000 units to 360,000 units, but the additional output won't be on stream until the end of 2016.
Dealers were also told that 97 percent of Subaru's 617 dealers are profitable -- a record for the Japanese brand, said Alvine, dealer principal of Premier Subaru in Branford, Conn., and Premier Subaru in Watertown, Conn.
Along with record U.S. deliveries in 2014, Subaru set records in parts and service revenue, certified used-vehicle sales, and extended warranties, said Tom Doll, president of Subaru of America.
Doll told dealers not to get complacent: "The most important message was to keep doing what they do, stay focused on the customer."