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Japan’s Subaru to Speed up Shift to Electric Vehicles

The company plans to spend $1.9 billion over the next five years to ramp up production of gasoline and electric vehicles around 2025 before opening an EV line in a new factory after 2027


The Subaru logo is seen at the 45th Tokyo Motor Show in Japan on October 25, 2017. File photo: Toru Hanai, Reuters.

 

Another Japanese carmaker has accelerated plans for production of electric vehicles, with Subaru saying on Thursday it will build an EV factory in Japan in coming years.

The company plans to spend 250 billion yen ($1.93 billion) over the next five years to ramp up production of both gasoline and electric vehicles around 2025 before opening an EV production line in a new factory after 2027.

According to Nikkei, this would be the first EV factory built from scratch in Japan. And that move stems from the jump in demand for battery cars in North America.

Subaru has long had a strong presence in the United States but warned on Thursday that its US dealers only have a record low stockpile of around 5,000 vehicles left, reflecting the squeeze of a supply-chain crunch.

Other Japanese automakers have yet to formally announce plans to build a dedicated EV factory.

But the country’s carmakers are now realising they need to recover ground lost to Tesla, which leads the fastest growing segment of the auto industry.

 

ALSO SEE: Toyota Rolls Out All-Electric SUV in Japan – For Lease Only

 

Market Changing Rapidly

“The market for EVs has been changing very rapidly over the past year,” Subaru CEO Tomomi Nakamura said.

Vehicles produced in the new factory would be exported overseas, Nakamura said, who declined to reveal specifics about production capability and whether it would make Toyota Motor cars.

The announcement came on the same day that Subaru began accepting orders for its first mass-produced EV, the Solterra, developed jointly with Toyota in Japan.

Subaru outsourced the car’s production to Toyota, which has also just rolled out its first battery electric car.

Separately, Subaru reported a 12% drop in full-year operating profit to 90.45 billion yen ($701 million). For the current financial year that began in April, it forecast operating profit of 200 billion yen, more than double the year just ended.

 

• Reuters with additional editing by Jim Pollard

 

ALSO SEE:

Toyota Eyes Chinese Tech to Reach Electric Holy Grail

Car Executives Expect EVs To Dominate In China

China’s Nio to Challenge Volkswagen, Toyota With Mass-Market Brand

Toyota to Use Quantum Computing to Push Battery Tech

 

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Jim Pollard

Jim Pollard is an Australian journalist based in Thailand since 1999. He worked for News Ltd papers in Sydney, Perth, London and Melbourne before travelling through SE Asia in the late 90s. He was a senior editor at The Nation for 17+ years and has a family in Bangkok.

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