Fuji Heavy Industries, the parent company of Japanese carmaker Subaru, has announced that it will open a new regional office for the brand in Singapore, located at Raffles Place.
The office will chiefly be focused on researching customer preferences in the Asean region.
At the press conference announcing the new office, CarBuyer spoke to Hidetoshi Kobayashi (pictured below), Corporate Senior Vice-President for Fuji Heavy Industries and Chief General Manager for Subaru Overseas Sales & Marketing Division 2 plus Subaru Parts & Accessories Division.
According to Mr Kobayashi, Japanese cars account for more than 70 percent of automobiles sold regionally, but in past years Subaru’s sales have been comparatively small. FHI setup a CKD plant (local assembly) in Malaysia in January 2013, with exports to Indonesia and Thailand, and sales shot up dramatically, “by more than ten times,” said Kobayashi. “So we thought, now is the time to be more aggressive and sell more cars, and to do that we really need to know what the customers really want from a Subaru car.”
The move is part of a revitalised global strategy from Subaru, which like many other Japanese carmakers, is beginning to bounce back from the difficulties of past years.
But with more new models released in recent years such as the XV crossover and new WRX performance sedan, Subaru has seen improving sales in important markets such as the USA, where it enjoyed record sales of 424,683 cars in 2013, a 26 percent improvement.
The most interesting comment from Kobayashi-san though, was about Subaru's plan for future models. Not only is Subaru looking to increase its model range offering in Asean and Singapore - for example the Levorg wagon above -in future STi, Subaru's high-performance division, will produce more models and be run like a premium sub-brand.
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