CHICAGO — This is what happens to automakers that keep growing — they have to move to bigger digs.
As it chases another year of record U.S. sales growth for 2018, Subaru of America will be loading up furniture vans this spring to move from Cherry Hill, N.J., to a newly built office building in Camden, N.J., that will bear a large Subaru sign to tell the world that the auto brand is moving up.
A decade of growth in sales and organization has made it necessary for Subaru to find more floor space and also to tighten up its internal organization. Currently, 600 U.S. employees are scattered around multiple buildings in Cherry Hill, as well as at two office locations across the Delaware River in Philadelphia.
The new U.S. headquarters will be 250,000 square feet, with a separate 107,000-square-foot national service training center next door. Subaru currently is cramped into 115,000 square feet.
But as sales grow, so do companies.
When it moved into the Cherry Hill building in 1986, Subaru’s annual volume totaled 183,242 vehicles. Last year, Subaru sold 647,956 vehicles in the U.S.
The challenge of the relocation, according to Subaru President Tom Doll, will be holding on to what Subaru is and has been.
Rather than splurge on all-new furniture, Doll has ordered that some aspects of the Cherry Hill building be carried to Camden as heritage items. Among them: the conference room tables from the executive conference room and its boardroom.
“We’re going to take some of those key items where major, major decisions were made,” Doll told Automotive News on the sidelines of the Chicago Auto Show this month. “We’re going to be taking them over to the new building because they’re part of our history and part of our culture.”