“During the first six months of the calendar year we built about 115,000 (Subaru and Toyota) units,” said Tom Easterday, executive vice president at Subaru of Indiana Automotive Inc. in Lafayette. “That’s less than what we originally forecast, because of the parts shortage. We really needed to be running overtime.”
A March 11 earthquake and tsunami in Japan disrupted parts production and exporting from that country. It also impacted sales results for some vehicles, including Subaru models and the Toyota Camry which are built at SIA.
With the parts problem solved, SIA is planning to ramp up production soon by returning to daily and Saturday overtime hours for some associates at the Lafayette plant where the workforce numbers approximately 3,550.
“We’ll have about 150 new people added by mid-July to the end of August,” although a breakdown of additional Subaru and Toyota associates hasn’t been made, Easterday said. “We’ll also have a Subaru line speed increase in the first week of September and a model launch of the 2012 Camry in the first part of September.”
A report released Friday by Subaru of America Inc. shows the company sold 19,794 vehicles last month. That’s 8 percent fewer than were sold June of last year.
“Customer demand hasn’t let up and our dealers did a terrific job selling cars as soon as they arrived at their stores,” said Bill Cyphers, senior vice president for sales at Subaru of America. “We continue to outperform our initial expectations for this period thanks to more production arriving than we first anticipated and better efficiency in getting our cars to dealers and out to customers.”
Among vehicles built at SIA, June results showed:
• Sales of the Legacy increased by 15 percent, to 3,471 units.
• Sales of the Outback rose by 21 percent, to 7,914 units.
• Sales of the Tribeca gained 3 percent, to 180 units.
Among the company’s Japanese-made models, sales of the Forester fell by 28 percent, to 5,466 units; while sales of the Impreza line dropped by 35 percent, to 2,763 units.
Through the first six month of 2011, Subaru sales totaled 132,049 — an increase of 5 percent over the January-June period of last year.
Six-month sales figures for vehicles built at SIA show customer acceptance of the Outback grew by 25 percent, to 51,239 units, while the Legacy posted a 12 percent increase, to 21,284 units; and the Tribeca lost 3 percent, to 1,274.
“We still have record demand for our product in dealerships, however we are still working through a low inventory period after the March earthquake and tsunami in Japan,” said Thomas Doll, executive vice president and chief operating officer at Subaru of America.
“Our dealers managed to be incredibly efficient with the inventory available and the situation is improving all the time. We expect 2011 will still be the second best year ever for Subaru in the U.S.”
Written by: Max Showalter with jconline.com
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