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Old 01-12-2004, 11:38 PM   #1
Jon [in CT]
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Default Subaru aims for 14.5% rise in global sales in 2004

From a Reuters article, http://www.reuters.com/newsArticle.j...toryID=4115781:
Subaru aims for 14.5% rise in global sales in 2004
Tue January 13, 2004 03:04 AM ET

By Yuko Inoue

TOKYO, Jan 13 (Reuters) - Japan's Fuji Heavy Industries said on Tuesday it expects its global car sales to climb 14.5 percent this year on the back of strong minivehicle sales at home and sales of its Legacy model in the United States.

The robust sales growth forecast by the maker of Subaru cars to 623,000 vehicles comes after a 1.9 percent fall in calendar 2003.

"We are going on a sales offensive this year," Subaru's Chief Executive Officer Kyoji Takenaka told a news conference.

"The sales goal is attainable."

The niche maker of off-road vehicles, which is one-fifth owned by General Motors Corp, said it targeted 24 percent growth in domestic sales to 306,000 this year.

It expects sales of minivehicles at home to soar 40 percent to 186,000 units, thanks to robust sales of the Subaru R2 minivehicle model that hit the market in December.

The solid targets, which were announced at a new year news conference in Tokyo, followed a lacklustre performance last year when it scored a scant 1.0 percent growth in global sales and a 5.2 percent fall in domestic sales.

In November, Subaru unveiled a roughly 50 percent fall in group operating profit for April to September, hit by a U.S. price war and weak domestic sales of its Forester sports utility vehicle and Impreza sports sedan as well as an ageing minivehicle line-up.

Subaru at that time lowered its operating profit outlook, which had already been its lowest in seven years, to 53 billion yen ($497 million) for the year to March 31 -- a fall of 22 percent compared with the previous year.

Takenaka said he expects sales in the key U.S. market to grow six percent to a record high of 203,000 units this year, after the planned June debut in the United States of the remodeled Legacy car.

The new Legacy won the "Japan Car of the Year" award in November.

The company is also considering building a sales network in major Chinese cities, although it has no plans to build a production base, Takenaka said.

The dollar's rapid fall against the yen, however, remains a major concern.

"Given our high proportion of dollar-denominated sales, it's already hard for us at the current dollar/yen rate," Fuji Heavy Corporate Executive Vice President Shunsuke Takagi told reporters.

"A further weakening of the dollar below 100 yen would be a severe blow to us."

Fuji Heavy said it would use an assumed dollar/yen rate of around 105 yen for the next business year starting April, compared to 116 yen for the current business year.

He said, however, that this year's earnings would not be greatly affected by the recent surge of the yen against the dollar.

The dollar was trading at around 106.50 yen on Tuesday.

Shares in Fuji Heavy, which like other Japanese auto makers relies heavily on the North American market, ended up 0.58 percent at 522 yen after the announcement, against a drop of 1.05 percent in Tokyo's Nikkei average. ($1=106.64 yen)
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Last edited by Jon [in CT]; 01-13-2004 at 06:35 AM.
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Old 01-13-2004, 09:42 AM   #2
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Glad to see them raised the goal - I was worried when you kept posting "maintain the current market share" thread. That is a bad business case anyway (if I were a share holder, I'd start selling them), combined with a new car introduction in the market that makes up 80% of the operating profit. Currency is still a concern - dollar getting weaker to promote export (see no indication from B admin, do we?), so with that in mind: higher unit sold + higher profit + stonger yen = unit price go up. Humm.
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