Subaru maker bearish on China

Kyodo

The president of Fuji Heavy Industries Ltd., the maker of Subaru cars, said Tuesday its auto sales in China will remain sluggish for some time amid the anti-Japan sentiment.

“The situation (in China) is quite severe. . . . I am sure (sales) will recover in the future, but it’s going to be hard for the time being,” Yasuyuki Yoshinaga told a news conference as the automaker announced the launch in Japan of its fully remodeled Forester sport utility vehicle.

Fuji Heavy aims to sell around 195,500 Foresters a year globally, but Yoshinaga said the company doesn’t expect the latest model to see strong sales in China at present. He said growing demand in the U.S. will likely offset dwindling sales in China.

Fuji Heavy saw a 71.7 percent plunge in its October new auto sales in China, while demand virtually halved in the month for other major Japanese automakers, including Nissan Motor Co. and Toyota Motor Corp.

The new Forester, with improved safety technology, will retail prices for between ¥2,089,500 and ¥2,936,850.