TOKYO -- Subaru is on a red-hot sales tear in the U.S. Now it's time to leverage that popularity to offset the mounting costs of making cleaner cars, the brand's global boss says.
In an interview with Japan's Nihon Keizai business newspaper, the head of Subaru maker Fuji Heavy Industries Ltd. didn't call outright for higher sticker prices. But he said the all-wheel-drive specialist needs to raise its "brand value" to counter the increased costs for green technologies.
"Related costs are going up more than expected, bringing the profit margin downward," Fuji Heavy President Yasuyuki Yoshinaga said in an interview published June 5.
"We are a small company," he said. "We do not benefit as much from economy of scale as bigger companies, so we will have to make up for the increased costs by raising our brand value."
Research into hybrid drivetrains, a favored way to meet increasingly stringent emission standards, is contributing to the pressures that drive those development costs higher, Yoshinaga said. He said Fuji Heavy is working to comply with California's zero-emission vehicle standards taking effect in 2018.
Subaru has said it plans to introduce a plug-in hybrid for North America by then.