Subaru plans to expand its manufacturing plant in Lafayette, Indiana, to add production of the Impreza. Automotive News reports that an investment of $400 million will allow Subaru to add capacity for about 100,000 new cars at the factory by 2016.
The Lafayette factory currently assembles the Subaru Outback, Legacy, and Tribeca, as well as a small number of Toyota Camrys. Last year, the plant built 252,838 vehicles (of which about 100,000 were Toyotas), and its maximum capacity is listed at 310,000 cars. Adding production of the Subaru Impreza is important because the car is currently imported from Japan, which adds cost; building it domestically will improve the company's profit margins on the car. The Impreza (excluding the WRX and WRX STI variants, which use an older platform) is one of Subaru's most popular models. It sold 68,175 units in 2012, and so far this year has sold 19,124 units.
Subaru will reportedly add a third shift of workers and expand one of the two assembly lines at the Indiana factory to add enough capacity for as many as 100,000 extra Subaru cars annually. The move will add 900 jobs; production of the Impreza sedan and hatchback is expected to begin there in 2016.
A Subaru spokesman confirmed the plant upgrade and said that the expansion won't affect Toyota's business there. Of the $400 million investment, $190 million is destined for an upgraded paint shop. It will add capacity to build 100,000 Imprezas each year.
Last year, Subaru American sales crested 300,000 for the first time ever, and the company hopes it can approach 400,000 by the end of this year and hit 500,000 U.S. sales annually by 2020.
Source: Automotive News