Business / Corporate

Subaru aims to lift 2020 global output to record 1.1 million vehicles

Kyodo

Subaru Corp. said Wednesday it aims to lift global production 11 percent to a record 1.10 million vehicles in 2020, reflecting solid demand in the U.S. market and a full recovery in domestic output following a series of quality-control scandals.

Subaru plans to produce 690,000 and 410,000 vehicles at home and overseas this year, respectively, both up 11 percent from 619,000 and 369,000 in 2019.

The upbeat plan comes after Japan’s smallest carmaker by volume was forced to slow down domestic production for 11 months through September 2019 to ensure product quality in an effort to restore its brand image, which was tarnished by a series of quality-control issues. The company admitted in 2017 that unauthorized staff had conducted vehicle inspections for more than 30 years in Japan.

The maker of the Legacy station wagon and the Impreza sport hatchback also had to temporarily halt operations at its vehicle assembly plants in Gunma Prefecture after a powerful typhoon in October disrupted its supply chain.

Domestic production dropped 6 percent in 2019 from the previous year, while output outside Japan rose 3 percent.

Subaru expects worldwide sales to rise 3 percent to an all-time high of 1.07 million vehicles in 2020, led by 4 percent growth in sales in the United States — the biggest market for the company — to 725,000 vehicles. Sales in its home market will remain flat at 131,000 vehicles, Subaru said.