Decline in 2021 would mark the first time since 1995 that Subaru has seen consecutive years of declining sales in the United States
Since 1996, the brand’s annual sales have declined only three times, in 2002, 2007 and 2020. But from 1987 to 1995, its sales declined every year.
Subaru’s lukewarm sales come even as rivals continue to forge ahead – automakers such as Toyota Motor Corp., Mazda Motor Corp. and Honda Motor Co all reported double-digit percentage gains for the first 10 months of the year.
Hyundai-Kia sales rose 29% through October.
Subaru’s slowdown is preventing it from resuming its once-scorching sales pace.
Before the pandemic, the all-wheel-drive niche player was targeting U.S. sales of up to 730,000 vehicles in 2020 – enough to total a 12th consecutive year of record sales in the United States.
But Nakamura predicted a return to growth as the microchip shortage gradually diminishes.
Subaru is still finalizing its U.S. sales outlook for 2022, but Nakamura said the company envisions a volume of around 650,000 vehicles.
This would represent a rebound from the decline expected in 2021, but would only bring Subura sales in the United States back to the level reached in 2017.
“There are still uncertainties about the semiconductor situation. So we don’t really have a firm target at this point,” Nakamura said. “But industry demand will be around 15.5 million or 16 million (in the US). Given that, we’re looking at a number in the region of around 650,000 units.”
Earlier this month, Subaru reported that its profits fell by nearly half in the July-September quarter as supply chain bottlenecks reduced production.
Subaru also lowered its global sales target to 830,000 vehicles for the full year ending March 31, 2022. It had originally forecast global shipments of 1.0 million vehicles.
Subaru also lowered its outlook for operating income, net income and sales.
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