Business / Corporate

Subaru's domestic production halves in January due to part defect

Kyodo

Subaru Corp. said Wednesday its domestic production in January halved from a year earlier, reflecting the impact of a temporary factory shutdown that came after the discovery of a power-steering defect in certain models.

Subaru said its output in Japan plunged 50.9 percent to 21,953 vehicles, while exports dived 40.0 percent to 21,334 units.

The automaker suspended operations at its only domestic assembly plant in Gunma Prefecture on Jan. 16 after discovering the problem with a defective power-steering component.

Subaru restarted production on Jan. 28, but the supply of parts has remained unstable. The company hopes production will return to normal by the end of March.

Subaru has been reeling from quality-control issues since 2017, when it admitted unauthorized staff had conducted vehicle inspections at two domestic plants for more than 30 years. Earlier this month, Subaru said it has revised downward its full-year group earnings forecast for the current business year through March amid declining production and sales.

In 2018, Subaru’s domestic production fell 7.0 percent from the previous year to 659,965 vehicles after it found its inspectors fabricated fuel and emissions data and failed to take proper steps in checking brakes and speedometers.

The automaker plans to reduce domestic production in 2019 by about 2 percent to 650,000 units from the previous year to give priority to ensuring quality standards are met.

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