Subaru slammed on the brakes on production at its plant in Japan, which accounts for 60% of its global production, due to a potential defect in a power-steering component.
The Japanese automaker hopes to restart production by Jan. 28, after it determines the cause of the problem. The company put a halt to production the night of Jan 16 after the problem was discovered, according to the Asahi newspaper.
For now, only the Forester, Impreza and XV (a Japan-only vehicle) appear to be affected, but the company is reviewing its processes to make certain since its other vehicles are also built on the same production line.
The company does not believe that its U.S. plant in Lafayette, Indiana, has been affected and remains on its normal production schedule, officials noted. That plant produces the Outback, Impreza, Legacy and its hot-selling Ascent large sport-utility.
(Subaru Crosstrek Hybrid, brand’s first plug-in, debuting in L.A. Click Here for the story.)
Subaru is still attempting to determine the reason for the defect, and that it may have impacted as many as 10,000 vehicles built in late December until the line was halted on Jan. 16. The company said it would take “appropriate” steps to ensure the affected vehicles were safe. Customers are likely to see delays as a result of the problem, the company added.
The company can ill afford a major problem as it’s already taken a hit to its reputation due to the part inspection scandal it suffered through recently. Additionally, Subaru cut its earnings forecast for this year due to rising recall costs
(Click Here for our first driving impressions of the new Subaru Ascent.)
Profits for the Japanese automaker have dipped each of the last three years, despite it setting new U.S. sales records each of those years. That said, officials revealed plans to produce 650,000 vehicles in Japan and 1.03 million globally this year, up 1% on the previous year.
It has forecast record global sales of 1.08 million vehicles, of which 700,000 are expected to come from the profitable U.S. market. After its strong results in 2018, it had good reason to expect an uptick.
(To see more about the impact of the inspection scandal on Subaru’s profits, Click Here.)
Subaru of America reported record-breaking sales of 680,135 vehicles for the 2018 calendar year; an increase of 5% over the previous annual record of 647,956 vehicles set in 2017. This marks the 10th consecutive year of record sales for Subaru of America and 11th consecutive year of sales increases.