Subaru maker benefits from its failed expansion plan in China
[Posted on Feb 21,2013 at 15:3]
Fuji Heavy Industries Ltd. President Yasuyuki Yoshinaga has become a market darling for something he failed to do: build a factory in China.
The maker of Subaru cars, the only major Japanese auto brand without a plant in the world's largest vehicle market, has jumped 83 percent in Tokyo trading this year for the biggest gain on the Nikkei 225 Stock Average.
Fuji Heavy's smaller presence in China has helped shield it from a consumer backlash triggered by a territorial dispute between Asia's two largest economies as its sales in the U.S. and Japan have surged.
"Selling cars in China is difficult now," Yoshinaga said at the unveiling of the new Forester SUV last week in Tokyo. "Luckily we can cover the loss there by producing more cars for Japan and the U.S., since we don't have a plant in China."
While its Japanese peers idled factories in China last month as deliveries slumped, Fuji Heavy was able to ship more cars to the U.S. and Japan, where waiting times have stretched to six months for its $25,495 BRZ sports car and two months for the $17,895 Impreza hatchback. The demand helped the carmaker boost its full-year profit forecast by 40 percent even as Honda and Nissan cut theirs by a fifth.
Last year, Fuji Heavy chief Yoshinaga said he felt his perseverance was being "tested" after failing to get approval for his company's proposed joint venture with Chery Automobile Co. Chinese authorities had balked because Toyota Motor Corp., which already has two joint ventures in China, is Fuji Heavy's largest shareholder, with a 16.5 percent stake.