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Subaru Profits to be Hit by Inspection Scandal, Recalls

Japanese maker struggling to get inspection issue resolved.

by Michael Strong on Nov.05, 2018

Subaru plants in Japan are still struggling with false inspections, which will impact its yearly earnings.

Subaru continues to struggle with recall issues, saying it would recall more vehicles sold in the Japanese market due to newly found instances of inspection cheating. Coupled with its recent engine recall and other actions and the company’s profits are expected to be cut by about 25%.

The company plans to recall about 100,000 vehicles, including its popular Impreza sedan, after it was found the final tests for components including brakes were not conducted properly. Vehicles sold overseas will not be affected. 

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“It’s unforgivable that these inspection-related issues are continuing,” CEO Tomomi Nakamura said. According to Reuters, he repeatedly added he believed that the latest recall would be the last related to testing misconduct.  (more…)

Subaru, Toyota Recalling 165,000 Cars Due to Engine Stalling

A valve spring is root of the problem.

by Michael Strong on Nov.02, 2018

The 2012 Subaru Impreza is part of a recall of 165,000 cars in the U.S. due to a problem that could cause the engine to stall.

Subaru and Toyota partnered up to build engines and now they are partnering on a recall of about 165,000 U.S. vehicles to resolve an issue causing those engines to potentially stall.

The action covers about 140,000 Subaru vehicles in the U.S. and about 25,000 of Toyota’s now-defunct Scion brand vehicles.

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“There is a very small possibility of a valve spring fracture in a very small number of affected vehicles, which could lead to engine noise, malfunction or, in a worst-case scenario, an engine stall,” Subaru said in a statement. (more…)

First Drive: 2019 Subaru Forester

Automaker continues to better this quirky classic crossover.

by Joseph Szczesny on Sep.26, 2018

The 2019 Subaru Forester continues the brand's leadership in the can-do crossover segment.

The variety of utility vehicles has exploded in recent years and appears certain to grow exponentially for foreseeable future.

Manufacturers are moving quickly to cash in on the consumer interest in vehicles that might not have a lot of charm or sex appeal but are practical for life in a world that has become much more complex.

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One of the automakers that has deftly capitalized on the trend, of course, is Subaru. Subaru sells interesting passenger cars and has built a strong reputation for building safe vehicles. But it is the strength of utility vehicle line that has helped the brand record, as of the end of August, 81 consecutive months of year-over-year sales increases. (more…)

Subaru Ascending Toward Another Annual Sales Record

New three-row ute pushing company toward another benchmark.

by Joseph Szczesny on Sep.21, 2018

Subaru is set to set a seventh consecutive annual sales record due to the new Ascent.

Subaru is confident it can lock in its seventh consecutive year of sales gains thanks to promising launch of the Ascent, a three-row sport-utility vehicle that has emerged as the Japanese automaker’s flagship since its debut earlier this summer.

Dominic Infante, Subaru’s director of communication, noted during a presentation in North Carolina for the first drive of the 2019 Subaru Forester, which is due in showrooms that through August, Subaru has posted 81 consecutive months of sales gains.

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The Ascent has been a great success out of the gate, Infante noted. Subaru hasn’t been able to build them fast enough to satisfy demand. The Ascent is built at the Subaru assembly plant in Indiana and Infante said that Subaru has only 12 days of Ascent inventory in the hands of dealers. (more…)

Could Ford Be Working Up a Sub-Ranger Pickup?

One option would be to go with a car-based package.

by Paul A. Eisenstein on Aug.01, 2018

The Ford Courier pickup shared platforms with the automaker's Fiesta subcompact.

Several sources are reporting that Ford Motor Co., long reluctant to undercut its full-size F-Series pickup family, could soon have small trucks in its line-up, with a model even smaller than the upcoming Ranger to follow by as early as 2022.

Exactly what it would look like and where it would fit into the spectrum isn’t clear but Automobile magazine’s sources suggested Ford might be looking at a product like the old Courier pickup built in Brazil that was based on the same platform as the prior-generation Fiesta subcompact.

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Whether there’d be a market for something the size of the old Ford Courier is far from certain, though several automakers appear to be looking at their options, notably including Hyundai which has been slowly moving forward with a production version of the well-received Santa Cruz concept first shown at the Detroit Auto Show in January 2015.

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First Drive: 2019 Subaru Ascent…Proving Bigger is Better

The Japanese automaker learns its lesson with all-new three-row SUV.

by Paul A. Eisenstein on May.23, 2018

The Subaru Ascent's X Mode is able to handle a wide variety of conditions, including wet sand.

An hour-some outside of Portland, as you head for the rugged Oregon coast, you’ll pass through the quaint old town of McMinnville. It’s known, it seems, for three things: walnuts, the annual Alien Festival – which celebrates a local farmer’s alleged encounter with a UFO – and the Evergreen Air and Space Museum. Dwarfing an indoor football stadium, the star of the collection is the legendary Spruce Goose, among the biggest aircraft ever built.

With eight radial engines mounted across its 321-foot wingspan, the 220 foot-long “Flying Lumberyard” was designed as a troop transport able to squeeze in nearly 800 soldiers on a trans-Atlantic flight. There are times when having plenty of passenger space, it seems comes in handy – something we had in mind before heading to McMinnville for a couple days to drive the all-new Subaru Ascent.

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While dwarfed by what was officially known as the H-4 flying boat, the 2019 Ascent is the Japanese automaker’s biggest offering yet, capable of seating up to eight passengers in a good bit more comfort than soldiers would have experienced had the Spruce Goose ever gone into service. Equally important, it has the styling and features that were sorely lacking when Subaru launched its first three-row model, the ungainly B4 Tribeca back in 2005.

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Subaru Sets Assembly of Ascent in Motion

New eight-passenger ute is company's largest vehicle.

by Joseph Szczesny on May.10, 2018

Subaru employees in Indiana marked the occasion of the first new Ascent rolling off the production line.

Subaru has begun production of its new Ascent, a three-row sport utility vehicle with seating for eight passengers, at the company’s assembly plant in Lafayette, Indiana plant.

The addition of the new ute to the production mix created 200 jobs, following an investment of $140 million in equipment and expansion investments.

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“The Subaru Ascent is a great addition to our production line-up,” said Tom Easterday, senior executive vice president of Subaru of Indiana Automotive Inc., or SIA. (more…)

Subaru Moves into New US Headquarters

Move comes days after maker sells 9 millionth car in the U.S.

by Joseph Szczesny on May.02, 2018

Subaru cut the ribbon on its new headquarters building in Camden, New Jersey.

Subaru of America Inc.’s new home is Camden, New Jersey, a town that has seen more than its share of hard luck over the years, but perhaps more importantly it’s not Atlanta, which has seen plenty of auto companies set up shop there.

At 250,000 square feet, the new headquarters will more than double the size of the automaker’s previous headquarters and bring employees from four sites onto one campus, which will house more than 550 Subaru employees.

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The move comes just days after the company sold its 9 millionth car in the U.S., a 2018 50th Anniversary Edition Crosstrek, delivered to Dr. Hershey Garner in Fayetteville, Arkansas. Garner is a repeat Subaru buyer and currently owns a 2005 Baja. (more…)

Subaru Employees Manipulated Fuel Economy Data

Automaker query finds 900 vehicles with incorrect information.

by Michael Strong on Apr.30, 2018

Subaru officials released a report outlining how 900 Japanese-built cars were given incorrect fuel-economy and emissions testing approvals.

Subaru Corp. said employees manipulated fuel economy and emissions figures on about 900 vehicles manufactured in Japan. The company has been investigating the issue since it first came to light last fall and issued a report of its findings last week.

The revelation came as part of a government-mandated self-investigation, which end up in the head of the company to resigning. Additionally, the query determined that “unqualified” employees had been performing the fuel-economy inspections for as long as 30 years.

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Subaru recalled 395,000 vehicles sold in Japan and estimated the scandal would cost $177 million. (more…)

Toyota, Subaru Set to Replace Sports Car

No timetable for new versions of BRZ and 86.

by Joseph Szczesny on Apr.04, 2018

Toyota and Subaru are working on a replacement for the sports car each sells, in this case, the Toyota 86.

Toyota and Subaru have started development of a replacement for the two-seat sports car that both companies produce jointly and currently sell under different names.

The Japan Times reported the two automakers have agreed to extend their collaboration to produce replacements for the current versions of the Toyota 86 and the Subaru BRZ.

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The two companies expect to launch the new models of the compact rear-wheel-drive sports car in 2021 with improved performance, according to The Japan Times, which cited sources familiar with the project. (more…)