The Truth About Cars » Fuji Heavy The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. Wed, 23 Jul 2014 18:25:17 +0000 en-US hourly 1 The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars no The Truth About Cars (The Truth About Cars) 2006-2009 The Truth About Cars The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars » Fuji Heavy Fuji Heavy To End Toyota Camry Production Fri, 09 May 2014 15:05:47 +0000 550x366x2015-Toyota-Camry-18-550x366.jpg.pagespeed.ic._-XUO5cN5l

No, that title is not a misprint. Fuji Heavy Industries, which current builds the Toyota Camry at an Indiana assembly plant, will stop producing the mid-size sedan for Toyota starting in 2016.

Fuji Heavy – parent company of Subaru- makes the Camry under contract for Toyota. Production will be absorbed by Toyota’s Georgetown, Kentucky plant that already builds the Camry. Automotive News reports that the move will free up an additional 100,000 units of capacity for Fuji Heavy, which builds Subaru cars at the plant. Fuji Heavy had sought to expand capacity sufficiently that it could build 300,000 Subaru vehicles per year at the plant – doing so will allow them to utilize the 100,000 units occupied by the Camry, as well as the 170,000 units allocated to Subaru, in order to reach their overall goal.

Georgetown is currently running flat out at 500,000 units annually, with plans to expand to 550,000 units already in the works. But there was no clarification on how Toyota would absorb a further 100,000 units, and retain the Camry’s position as America’s best-selling passenger car.

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Subaru Is Like, So Over China, Totally Moved On To America Thu, 17 May 2012 14:07:41 +0000

Subaru’s failed relationship with China hasn’t burdened Subaru with too much baggage; the automaker is already moving on, planning to expand its Indiana plant to build more Legacy and Outback models.

The 52,000 square foot expansion will be worth $75 million. The body assembly facility will be the main area of focus, and is expected to take capacity from 156,000 units to 180,000 units assuming no overtime is worked. 100 jobs will also be added. Further expansion, including an all-new plant, is also on the table for Subaru.

As far as we know, the rising yen and a need to focus on North America makes the case for expanded capacity on this continent even more compelling. One only needs to look at other small automakers like Mazda to see just how badly the rising yen can hammer a company – though Subaru does have the backing of parent company Fuji Heavy Industries, while Mazda is essentially on its own.

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Chinese Government Denies Subaru Joint Venture. Again? Thu, 10 May 2012 11:38:36 +0000

Just-Auto issued a breathless press release with the hot news that the nasty Chinese government has said no to a joint venture between Japan’s Subaru and China’s Chery. If this sounds like deja vu to you, then you are an ace analyst. Send your CV to just-auto.

The story is ancient news. Last October, Fuji Heavy was told its application was denied because Subaru “is an affiliate of Toyota Motor Corp.” Toyota already has two joint ventures in China, and a company can’t have more. The argument sounded a bit belabored. However, two months later, the Chinese government issued an edict that discouraged new joint ventures between Chinese and foreign carmakers in a market that battles with overcapacity: “Sorry, we are closed!”

Just-auto fell victim to a press release by Subaru, which announced slight adjustments to Fuji Heavy’s “Motion-V” 5 year business plan. One of the changes is a belated realization that “it seems difficult to establish local production in China.” Therefore, “FHI will make a shift from local production scheme to car export scheme.” Except that there never was a local production scheme. Subaru will continue importing cars to China. Good luck with that.

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And Now For The Carbon Fiber Age Sun, 10 Oct 2010 07:58:24 +0000

Producers of rolled steel and car manufacturers alike are casting a wary eye towards Japan. There, Toray Industries has developed technology, that, for the first time, allows carbon fiber to be used for mass produced auto bodies. According to The Nikkei [sub], Toray will start supplying Toyota and Fuji Heavy with carbon fiber for car bodies later this year.

Carbon fiber has one third of the weight of steel. Newton told us long ago, that reduced heft is the key to improved fuel efficiency. There used to be one problem: Carbon fiber was outrageously expensive, it did cost about 20 times the price of steel. Toray’s technology narrows the delta to about five times – as a start.

After a severe plunge, the price of steel is on the rise again. If more carbon fiber is used, the cost will come down, and the gap will narrow.

Still, at 5 times the cost, carbon fiber remains a luxury item. Toyota will use carbon fiber for the hood and roof of the Lexus LFA, a luxury sports car that will finally go in series production in December. Fuji Heavy will offer roofs made from carbon fiber as an optional item for its standard-class sports car. Not quite “mass production.” Nevertheless, it’s a start.

Rolled steel for cars is an important business for steelmakers. It also has a feature car makers like: built-in obsolescence, called rust. Rust inhibitors have prolonged the life of cars, and stopped them from already rusting in the catalogue. However, eventually, rust will get to a steel body, and it will conveniently fall apart.  A body made from carbon fiber theoretically can live forever. Whether car makers want to live with that idea is a totally different question.

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Toyota To Produce Small Subarus. And A FT-86baru? Fri, 25 Jun 2010 09:44:48 +0000

Toyota will supply small Subarus to Fuji Heavy, so that Fuji Heavy and Subaru can focus on midsize cars. According to information developed by The Nikkei [sub], “Toyota and Fuji Heavy intend to release a jointly developed sports car under their respective brands as early as the end of 2011.” If the Nikkei has its stuff together, then we might finally see the often delayed FT-86 next year. As a Toyota and a Subaru.

The Nikkei expects that the deal begins with Toyota making their Ractis subcompact as a Subaru. It is due for a refresh, and Subaru-specific mods can be incorporated when that happens. The aforementioned “jointly developed sports car” is expected to – finally – ship “under their respective brands as early as the end of 2011.” According to the article, Toyota will also  provide technologies for Subaru hybrids.

According to the Nikkei, this would be the first time that Toyota makes finished cars for another Japanese automaker. It’s not that the two are perfect strangers. Toyota has a 16.5 percent stake in Fuji Heavy.

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