Subaru has a problem, though it’s a problem many other automakers would love to have. The small Japanese automaker is growing at a rapid rate and it’s fully expected to run out of capacity to fulfill demand sooner rather than later. Most automakers would simply expand and flood the market with more units to feed the sales rush, but for Subaru it might mean becoming the opposite of the market position and perception they’ve taken years to cultivate.
As Bloomberg‘s Kyle Stock puts it, “Being small, though, is the reason Subaru has become such a big deal. With manufacturing capacity maxed out, it now has to decide what kind of company it wants to be.”
For decades buyers made the pickup truck the bestselling vehicle in North America. Despite its utilitarian roots, the pickup truck has morphed from a working man’s appliance into a replacement for big body-on-frame American luxury sedans.
Sure, that V8 Crew Cab is a nice vehicle, but what are you really going to do with a five-and-a-half-foot bed?
Fiat Punto, not long for this world.
Sources tell Bloomberg News that Fiat Spa will spend as much as 9 billion euros ($12 billion) over the next three years developing new models for for the European market. The Italian automaker hopes the strategy will end losses on the continent and restore drastically underutilized Italian factories to profitability. Many of the new models will be based on either the Fiat 500 subcompact or the small, low cost Panda. A five door version of the 500 will replace the Punto. The Punto, last restyled in 2005, has long been a fixture in Fiat showrooms and as recently as 2007 it accounted for almost a third of the Fiat brand’s sales in Europe.
Though Fiat wants to use its Italian factories better, the Punto’s replacement will be built in Poland to save on costs. Sergio Marchionne believes that “made in Italy” works with upscale brands like Maserati and Alfa Romeo. The upcoming Maserati Levante SUV will be made in Fiat’s Mirafiori factory. (Read More…)
A bit of bad news from the Continent: Audi CEO Rupert Stadler is cautioning that Western Europe’s auto market will not recover before the end of the decade.
Subaru is set to expand capacity at its Indiana plant by 100,000 units, adding the Impreza alongside the Legacy, Outback and Tribeca to help fill demand for its vehicles in the United States. (Read More…)
Jeep is counting on the new Cherokee to help continue its streak of year-over-year sales growth, but the brand is facing production related challenges that could torpedo their quest for three consecutive years of sales growth.
The drama circling around the New York Times test of the Tesla Model S doesn’t surprise me one bit. Why? Because I understand, perhaps at a deeper level than most of the motoring press, how batteries work. Perhaps that has to do with growing up in a family of engineers and scientists, but battery technology has always interested me. So when people from Phoenix came to me crying in their soup about their LEAFs in the heat and friends started wagging fingers at Tesla and the New York Times, I figured it was time for a battery reality check.
The high cost of auto manufacturing in Canada isn’t solely an issue for domestic auto makers; Honda, which manufactures the best-selling car in Canada (the Civic) is grappling with this issue as well.
The Windsor Star spoke to Jerry Chenkin, Executive Vice-President of Honda Canada, who summed up the biggest issue with Honda’s Canadian production: (Read More…)
Excess capacity through 2016 will be a royal pain in the butt for Ford, hurting their margins on the all important small car segment.
GM’s German union chief wants the company to move production of the Mokka baby SUV (aka our Buick Encore) from South Korea to Europe. The reason? Because it would help with overcapacity in Europe.
The situation in Europe is “very volatile”, Ford CEO Alan Mulally told Reuters today in Berlin. “We don’t know whether it the European economy will stabilize or hit bottom or not because it’s continuing to decrease.” (Read More…)
Nissan’s Carlos Ghosn is eyeing another North American plant for Nissan, one that could be used to build both Nissan and Infiniti vehicles.