Subaru to suspend Japan output, extend U.S. shutdown

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TOKYO – Subaru Corp. will join Japanese rivals in suspending domestic production because of the coronavirus pandemic with plans to shut its main assembly plant here from April 11 to May 1.

The automaker is also extending a previously announced U.S. shutdown by eight days.

Subaru’s suspension will affect its main assembly operations in Gumma as well as an engine and transmission plant, taking factories offline for 17 workdays, the company said April 1.

The shutdown translates to roughly 39,100 units of lost production, given the Gumma complex’s normal output rate of 2,300 vehicles a day, Subaru said. 

The move affects popular U.S. export nameplates such as the Forester and Crosstrek crossovers. Last year, Subaru of America sold 335,504 imported vehicles. The plant also produces the WRX and BRZ sporty cars for the U.S. as well as a host of vehicles, ncluding the Outback crossover, Legacy sedan, Levorg wagon and Impreza small car, for both Japan and export markets, i

Output is slated to resume May 11, after an originally scheduled break for Japan’s Golden Week holiday. 

Subaru’s announcement follows similar moves to suspend production in Japan by Toyota, Mazda, Nissan and Mitsubishi, though the extent of the suspensions varies by maker. 

The company said it was halting production due to supply chain interruptions triggered by the coronavirus outbreak and to adjust volume given “a rapid decline in demand around the world.”

Subaru’s Gumma plant produced 619,000 vehicles last year and was expecting to ramp up output to 690,000 in 2020. The factory complex employs about 10,400 people. 

The automaker also extended a previously announced suspension of its U.S. plant  until April 17. It had originally said the shutdown would last through April 6. 

Subaru of Indiana Automotive will lose about 19 workdays and is scheduled to reopen April 20. It produced 369,000 vehicles last year and was earlier forecast to produce 410,000 in 2020.

Subaru said it will lose about 32,300 units of output from its U.S. suspension.

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