02-27-2016, 05:57 PM
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Supply problems hindering Subaru sales growth
Subaru Australia sold 43,600 new vehicles in Australia last year. That represents sales growth of 7.6 per cent year on year – in a market that grew by 3.8 per cent.
The brand’s Liberty and Outback models lifted their respective sales by over 3000 units for the former and a whopping 8470 units for the latter. This amounted to percentage increases in 2015 of 294% for the Liberty and 345% for the Outback, according to Subaru Australia MD, Nick Senior.
Yet the company could have sold more cars last year – in both Australia and other markets – if it hadn’t been constrained by factories unable to meet global demand.
It’s a situation Subaru acknowledges it must rectify. According to Senior Subaru’s Indiana plant, in the USA, will find more production capacity this year, now that it’s no longer building cars for Toyota. And the company anticipates selling over a million Pleaides-badged vehicles around the world in 2016, as a consequence of that.
Market share (the percentage of total market sales that were Subarus) grew to 3.8 per cent last year. It’s the highest market share for Subaru since 2010 (3.9%). The importer has come close to four per cent market share on numerous occasions in the past, but the important point about the 2015 performance is that it’s a share of a record market, which means Subaru’s total sales for last year set a new record. According to the Subaru Australia boss, the brand has posted record sales in 16 of the last 18 years selling cars in the local market.
Senior is naturally pleased with the local result for 2015, but foresees only incremental improvements in Subaru’s sales numbers locally – in the near future at least.
“We haven’t quite got to four per cent, but obviously we’d like to get there,” he told motoring.com.au during the launch of the updated Forester, Liberty and Outback models for 2016.
“I think short term is small, sustained growth in sales while we deal with the production issue. The factory has expanded in Japan; it is expanding in the US, but in the foreseeable future – which is 2016, 2017 – we’re not going to see a jump-up in available production for the Australian market.
“From our point of view, if we can continue to grow – and grow by about 1000 or 2000 units… per year – is where we see ourselves in the next couple of years.”
The plus side for Subaru is that demand is so strong, hardly any cars sit around waiting for the right customer. They’re literally snapped up by a local buyer within a month of leaving the factory in Japan, Senior says.
“We’re selling cars this month that will be produced this month. In December, almost 10 per cent of the cars we sold were produced in December. How factory-fresh do you want a car?
“The first week of December it’s on a boat here, arriving before Christmas and in the customer’s hands before the end of the year.”