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.
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