Subaru: Mid-term plan revised upward to exceed 1.2 million vehicles in FY 2020
Continuing to increase production capacity with a focus on North America
|New platform Subaru Global Platform (SGP) (Fuji Heavy Industries)|
In order to unify its company and brand names, in May 2015, Fuji Heavy Industries announced it would change its name to ‘Subaru Corporation' on April 1, 2017. In addition, given its healthy performance up to FY 2015, the OEM made upward revisions to its numeric goals for its “Prominence 2020" mid-term plan.
The automaker's sales target for FY 2020 has been increased by 100 thousand vehicles to 1.2 million vehicles or more, of which 800 thousand or more are to be sold in the North American market. In its plan as of 2014, over half of the OEM's target sales were to be sold in the North American market in FY 2020, but with the new plan, roughly two-thirds of sales will be in the North American market.
Furthermore, FHI's plan to increase production capacity has also been updated. Production capacity in Japan will be increased to 696 thousand vehicles, and 436 thousand vehicles in the U.S. for a total of 1.132 million vehicles. The completion date of the plan was brought forward to FY 2018.
In terms of profitability, due to continuing appreciation of the yen, as well as increased experimental research expenses and capital investments for the purpose of ensuring that competitiveness is maintained, earnings are expected to decline. However, the automaker aims for sales and profit growth in figures that exclude the effects of currency exchange, and in the three years between FY 2016 and FY 2018, it will strive for an 11.2% operating margin that is an industry high.
As for its products, models featuring the new Subaru Global Platform (SGP) architecture will be released every year starting with the Impreza in fall 2016. The SGP is designed to also accommodate PHV and EV models, and can handle tighter regulations, with the Zero Emission Vehicle (ZEV) regulation in California being of particular concern. Additionally, advancements to the EyeSight driving support system are underway, and in 2017, FHI plans to implement automated driving in mass-produced vehicles, with functions including automated driving in single lanes on highways in heavy traffic, and will plan to launch autonomous driving for mass-produced vehicles on highway operations including lane changes in 2020.
Subaru expects 16.6% profit margin for FY 2016 (Aug. 2015)
Subaru: Pre-Collision Steering Assist function adopted in EyeSight ver. 3 (Apr. 2015)
Tokyo Motor Show 2015: Subaru VIZIV Future Concept for autonomous driving on expressways (Dec. 2015)
"Prominence 2020" mid-term plan: Upward revisions to sales target for FY 2020 exceed 1.2 million vehicles, annual production capacity to increase to 1.13 million vehicles in FY 2018
In May 2016, Fuji Heavy Industries announced it would make revisions to its "Prominence 2020" mid-term plan, which runs until FY 2020. The sales target until then has been revised upward by 100,000 vehicles from the original plan (announced in May 2014) to a total of over 1.2 million vehicles. Sales in North America are expected to remain healthy, and the target sales for FY 2020 have been largely revised upward from 600,000 vehicles to 800,000. On the other hand, target sales in Japan and China were revised downward with the expectation that stagnation in those countries will continue. The goal of Fuji Heavy Industries for 2020 is described in "Prominence 2020" as "Not big in size, but a high-quality company with distinctive strengths," and remains unchanged (related report available here).
Global consolidated sales plan
|FY 2013||FY 2014||FY 2015||FY 2016
|North America||478||570||630||696||800+α (600)|
|Global total||825||910(916)||958 (950)||1,050 (1,000)||1,200+α (1,100+α)|
Source: Created from Fuji Heavy Industries financial results documents.
Note 1: FY 2016 plans are from earnings announcements from Q1 FY 2016 (August 2016).
Note 2: Figures inside () are target values as of May 2014.
Schedule for production capacity expansion to 1.13 million vehicles moved up to FY 2018
|Fuji Heavy Industries' U.S. plant, SIA|
Along with revisions to its sales target, FHI has also accelerated plans to strengthen its production capacity. Prior to the revisions, the OEM planned to have a production capacity of 1.05 million vehicles in FY 2020 (650,000 in Japan＋400,000 in the U.S.), but because it is pushing its plans ahead of schedule to FY 2018, the automaker has announced it will increase its capacity to 696,000 vehicles in Japan and 436,000 vehicles in the U.S. for a total of 1.132 million vehicles. The production capacity during full operation, including overtime and holiday work, will be increased to 1.276 million vehicles.
U.S. SIA will invest USD 140.2 million to increase its production capacity by 100,000 vehicles by the end of 2016. The plant was initially scheduled to produce Toyota's Camry under consignment until fall 2016, but since production ended ahead of schedule in May 2016, it began production of Subaru's Outback from July. As a result of this, SIA's production capacity of Subaru brand vehicles will increase to 394,000 vehicles in 2016. After 2017, SIA's production capacity will gradually be increased to 436,000 in FY 2018.
The Gunma Manufacturing Division in Japan, which has two plants, will incrementally increase its capacity at the main plant, and finish updating its coating facilities at the Yajima plant in 2018.
Production capacity plan
|FY 2013||Spring 2016||End of 2016||FY 2018|
|Gunma Manufacturing Division (main plant, Yajima plant)||600||636||642||696|
|U.S. (SIA plant)||170||218||394||436|
|Production capacity：Standard operation (full operation)||770||854||1,036||1,132 (1,276)|
|(Reference: Malaysia CKD plant)||5||20||20||20|
Source: Created from Fuji Heavy Industries' financial results documents.
Company name changed to Subaru, industrial equipment company integrated with automobile division
FHI changes name to Subaru to unify its industrial products company with the automotive division
|Fuji Heavy Industries Ltd. will change its company name to "Subaru Corporation" on April 1, 2017. The OEM is doing this on the occasion of its centennial anniversary to unify its company name with its brand name and thereby increase brand power.|
Industrial products company integrated with automobile division
|In October 2016 Fuji Heavy Industries merged its industrial products company, which handles utility engines, with its automobile department. Production will cease in September 2017, and the OEM plans to strengthen its automobile department by integrating its management resources, particularly development personnel.|
|In 2012, Fuji Heavy Industries withdrew from the wind power generation and waste truck businesses and has faced tough competition from Chinese manufacturers in its industrial products department. The industrial equipment department's sales in FY 2015 were JPY 32.6 billion, and it recorded an operating income of JPY 100 million.|
Earnings plan: Increasing research and development and capital investment while aiming for increased income and profit (excluding currency exchange factors)
Fuji Heavy Industries announced its earnings plan for the period FY 2016 to FY 2018. In its previous earnings plan for the period FY 2014 to FY 2016, the OEM expects to meet its goals thanks to the increases in sales and the effects of a weaker yen. For FY 2018, even as the automaker increases experiment and research outlays and capital investments, it will aim to increase profit and earnings excluding exchange rate factors, and for a high operating profit margin of 11.2%. Assuming USD 1= JPY 100, in the three years from FY 2016 to FY2018, FHI plans for sales of JPY 9.8 trillion (annual average of JPY 3.3 trillion), an operating profit of JPY 1.1 trillion (annual average of JPY 0.37 trillion), experiment and research outlays of JPY 360 billion (annual average of JPY 120 billion), and capital investments of JPY 470 billion (annual average of JPY 157 billion).
FY 2016 to FY 2018 earnings plan
(JPY 1 billion)
|FY 2014 to FY 2016||FY 2016 to FY 2018|
|Consolidated revenue initial plan
(Expected: exchange rate adjusted value (note))
|Consolidated revenue plan
|Operating profit margin||12.5%||14.9%||11.8%||11.2%|
|Experiment and research expenses||250||306||300||360|
|Depreciation and amortization||200||210||200||290|
|Assumed average exchange rate||USD 1 = JPY 95||USD 1 = JPY 111||USD 1 = JPY 100||USD 1 = JPY 100|
Source: Created from Fuji Heavy Industries' financial results documents.
(Note) "Performance (expected)" is created by MarkLines from annual financial results documents. "Performance (Expected: exchange rate adjusted value)" is figures calculated and announced by Fuji Heavy Industries that replace USD 1=JPY 100 in the "Performance (expected)" column.
Fuji Heavy Industries' FY 2015 performance and FY 2016 plans
In FY 2015, Fuji Heavy Industries announced that it sold 958,000 vehicles (year-over-year (y/y) increase of 5.1%); and had 3.23 trillion in sales (y/y increase of 12.3%), operating income of JPY 565.6 billion (y/y increase of 33.7%), and net income from extraordinary factors of JPY 436.7 billion (y/y increase of 66.8%), to set record-high figures for the OEM for the fourth year in a row. Its operating profit margin increased to 17.5%. Sales in North America have been healthy, with the weaker yen contributing.
In comparison with 2011, operating profit has increased by JPY 521.6 billion in four years. With the yen depreciating from USD 1=JPY 79 to JPY 121, the OEM has increased its operating profit by JPY 411.6 billion, recorded JPY 261.9 billion in sales configuration difference, and reduced costs JPY 96.7 billion. However, various expenditures such as advertising and sales promotion have increased for a negative impact of JPY 194.6 billion, as well as 53.9 billion in experiment and research expenses.
In FY 2016, the OEM plans to increase sales primarily in North America to achieve its first annual sales of over 1 million vehicles. At the same, with factors including increases in capital investments and research and development costs; major revisions to raise the assumed exchange rate to a stronger level for the yen; increases in quality related expenses starting with airbag inflators; rising sales incentives in the U.S.; and extraordinary income in FY 2015; the OEM expects a decrease in earnings for the first time in 5 years. At the time the company announced its plans during its Q1 earnings announcements in FY 2016; operating income was expected to decline to JPY 400 billion for a y/y decrease of 29.3%, and net income to fall by 34.7% to 285 billion.
Fuji Heavy Industries' consolidated results
(JPY 1 million)
|FY 2009||FY 2010||FY 2011||FY 2012||FY 2013||FY 2014||FY 2015||FY 2016|
|Revenue in Japan||520,800||467,300||498,500||671,800||672,100||652,900||605,400||610,300|
|Revenue in Oversea||907,900||1,113,200||1,018,600||1,241,100||1,736,100||2,225,000||2,626,900||2,579,700|
Source: Created from Fuji Heavy Industries' financial results documents.
(Note) In FY 2015, JPY 48.2 billion was recorded as extraordinary income from a ruling over litigation regarding helicopters for the Ministry of Defense.
Product strategy: New models of core vehicle types released every year, PHV/EV also to be released sequentially
Fuji Heavy Industries plans to release models featuring the new SGP platform on a yearly basis beginning with the Impreza in 2016. In 2018, the OEM will release a successor to the Tribeca, a seven-seat SUV that saw its production cancelled in 2014 due to low popularity, in North America. In 2018, the automaker will release a PHV, and in 2021, an EV, both of which will mostly be sold in North America.
Furthermore, a downsized turbo engine will be released in 2019 as the next-generation core engine. The engine is being developed with a European engineering company, and will be the first engine by the automaker to incorporate lean burn technology.
Subaru brand's model plans (Japan)
|* Impreza||* XV||* Forester
* Tribeca successor (North America)
|* Levorg||* Legacy
Source: MarkLines Data Center
|New Impreza (scheduled for release in fall 2016: photo from Fuji Heavy Industries)||Subaru XV Concept (featured in the 2016 Geneva Motor Show: photo from Fuji Heavy Industries)|
|Impreza||2016 autumn||The Subaru brand's primary C-segment vehicle. It will be the first model to feature the new SGP platform. The Japanese domestic version will also feature pedestrian airbags and EyeSight as standard equipment. Production of the Impreza will also begin in the U.S. in 2016. The new model is larger than the current version, with its length increasing by 40 mm to a total of 4,625 mm (sedan).|
|The Impreza features a newly developed FB type 2.0 liter horizontally opposed direct-injection engine. Compared to the current naturally aspirated engines, roughly 80% of the parts have been updated to realize a weight reduction of approximately 12 kg, increasing output (4hp increase to 152hp) and fuel efficiency.|
|XV||2017||The second-generation iteration of a crossover model based on the Impreza, known as the Crosstrek in North America. The second generation is also expected to be available as an HV model. It has been rumored that Toyota has cooperated in developing the HV system.|
|At the Geneva Motor Show in March 2016, the Subaru XV Concept was unveiled, showcasing the direction of design for the next-generation XV.|
|Forester||2018||Subaru brand's best-selling car model, a compact SUV.|
|PHV||2018||As of October 2016, advanced development has ended, and is moving on to the mass production development stage.|
|Tribeca successor||2018||A successor model to the large-size seven-seat SUV Tribeca will be produced and sold in the U.S. The new model will be larger than the Tribeca (4,864 mm in length). It will be given a name that evokes imagery of outdoor adventures like the Outback and Forester.|
|Levorg||2019||The second-generation model of a compact station wagon that is primarily sold in Japan and Europe.|
|Legacy||2020||The Subaru brand's flagship model, available as both a station wagon and sedan.|
|Outback||2020||A mid-size SUV.|
|EV||2021||An EV primarily for North America. It will be developed based on the new SGP platform, and will feature an independently developed powertrain.|
New platform Subaru Global Platform (SGP): Capable of supporting PHV/EV
New platform Subaru Global Platform (SGP)
The platform designed to accommodate not only gasoline engines, but also HVs, PHVs, and EVs.
Fuji Heavy Industries has developed the new Subaru Global Platform (SGP), which is featured on the new Impreza that is scheduled for release in fall 2016. The main specifications have been planned comprehensively to allow the new platform to be used on all Subaru models ranging from the Impreza to the Outback, as well as EVs and PHVs (a similar philosophy to Mazda's "Monotsukuri Innovation").
Conventionally, platform components (body components) for different models were produced using different production equipment, but can now be produced using the same equipment, thereby increasing production efficiency for all functions down to parts suppliers.
Furthermore, Fuji Heavy Industries uses bridge production, which is a method to produce multiple model types over several production lines. The new platform will allow for easier bridge production, and realize a more flexible production system.
The focus of developing the SGP was safety and environmental friendliness. Regarding safety, the platform complies with oblique collision testing promoted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) and NHTSA. For environmental friendliness, the platform complies with California's Zero Emission Vehicle (ZEV) regulations.
Characteristics of SGP
|SGP dynamic texture targets||(1) Straight driving.
(2) No unpleasant vibration noise.
(3) Comfortable ride.
|Significant strengthening of the body/chassis rigidity||* Increasing the rigidity of the body and natural vibration frequency prevents resonance with the suspension.
* In order to increase body rigidity, the frame structure of the platform has been revised, and rigidity has been increased by using structural adhesives to avoid increasing weight.
|Further lowering of the center of gravity||* The center of gravity has been lowered by 5 mm compared to current models. According to Fuji Heavy Industries, the new platform has a center of gravity 50 mm lower than models from other OEMs.|
|Underbody advances||By directly mounting the rear stabilizer to the body (which was conventionally attached to the sub frame), the vehicle's vibration was reduced 50% in comparison with current vehicles.|
|70 to 100% increase in rigidity in comparison to conventional platforms||* Front body lateral bending rigidity increased by 90%,
* Body torsional rigidity increased by 70%,
* Front suspension rigidity increased by 70%,
* Rear sub-frame rigidity increased by 100%.
|Passive safety: 40% body strength improvement||The frame structure was revised. Load transfer pathways were replicated and high-strength materials adopted.|
|The platform was designed with an eye to 2025 to be capable of expanded use of high-tensile steel plates and non-metal materials such as CFRP.|
Evolution of EyeSight: Realizing automated driving on highways in 2020
EyeSight pre-crash brake operating imagery (Fuji Heavy Industries)
In 2010, FHI released version 2 of its EyeSight driving assist system, which featured automatic stopping functions and utilized stereo cameras. In 2014 it launched version 3, which had color cameras that enhanced the system's functions. In 2017, autonomous driving function on single lanes during congestion on highways will be added, and in 2020, autonomous driving including lane changing on highways will be realized for mass-produced vehicles. On the technical side, the stereo cameras will be updated to capture more images, have an increased view angle and resolution, and with increased computing speed.
Moreover, EyeSight is currently being introduced in countries around the world, and has already been released in Japan, North America, Europe, and Australia as of FY 2015. In the future, EyeSight will be released in China, Russia, ASEAN countries, the Middle East, and Central and South America.
Direction of the evolution of EyeSight
|2008||EyeSight||The world's first pre-collision brake (without automatic stopping) using stereo cameras only, automatic transmission false start suppression control, and cruise control for all speed ranges.|
|2010||EyeSight ver.2||A more advanced pre-collision brake (capable of stopping automatically when the speed difference with the target is within 30km/h). It also featured lane departure warnings and Adaptive Cruise Control.|
|2014||EyeSight ver.3||The EyeSight cameras were updated to record in color, increasing recognition performance. A new steering assist control (pre-crash steering assist) was added, as well as more advanced pre-collision brakes (capable of stopping automatically when the speed difference with the target is within 50km/h), and cruise control for all speed ranges.|
|2015||Advanced safety package||A package that enhances EyeSight's safety functions, with additional features such as the Rear Cross Traffic Alert that utilizes radar to detect vehicles.|
|2017||Automated driving functions on single lanes during highway driving||During congestion on highways, a function will be added to EyeSight that enables it to recognize the motion of preceding vehicles and curve conditions so that the vehicle can drive adaptively in traffic in single lanes from speeds of 0 km/h to 65 km/h.|
|2020||Automated driving on highways including lane changing||A radar and digital map will be added to EyeSight, which utilizes stereo cameras, to realize autonomous driving on highways including lane changing functions.|
EyeSight installation rate (percentage of models that are able to equip it)
|January to December 2015||83%||62%||96%||31%|
|Most installed models||100% installation rate on Legacy, LEVORG, WRX, and EXIGA CROSSOVER7.||100% installation rate on Legacy.||96% installation rate on Outback.||57% installation rate on Outback.|
Collaboration with IBM
|Fuji Heavy Industries announced it will collaborate with IBM Japan in April 2016 to develop a system to aggregate/manage experimental approximately 2 million km of footage using from advanced driving assist systems like EyeSight, and began operating in the same month. The search and analysis of experimental footage has become easier, and the two companies aim to increase EyeSight standards using artificial intelligence (AI) and develop in-server compatibility.|
|In the future, both companies will consider constructing a new system using "IBM Watson Internet of Things (IoT) for Automotive," and test possible technical applications of cloud and artificial intelligence technology for advanced driving support systems.|
Sales forecast by LMC Automotive: Subaru's sales will be 969,000 units in 2019
(LMC Automotive, Q3 2016)
According to LMC Automotive's forecast (Q3 2016), Subaru's light vehicle sales (major 52 countries) will slightly decrease to 963,000 units in 2016, because Japanese sales will be 153,000 units, down by 5.7％ YoY. Meanwhile, its sales in the US will increase slightly to 588,000 units in 2016, after continuous double digit growth.
In the medium term, Subaru's global sales will be hovering around 950,000-unit level. The Japanese OEM's sales will gradually decrease to 938,000 units in 2018, down by 2.7% from 2015. Meanwhile, its global sales in 2019 will be 969,000 units, up by 0.5% from 2015.
LMC Automotive comments; "Following strong growth in both 2014 and 2015, Subaru is expected to grow above the [US] market's overall rate in 2016, resulting in a share gain of 0.04 ppt. With Subaru's 2016 MY line‐up not offering any significant changes for its models compared to its 2015 MY line-up, most of the brand's models are expected to remain relatively flat YoY. As the aging Impreza approaches the end of its product lifecycle, demand wanes on the Compact Car from recently refreshed and redesigned entrants in the segment such as the Kia Forte and Chevrolet Cruze. Although it remains a niche brand, Subaru's crossover‐heavy line‐up is ideally positioned to meet current trends. Both the Subaru Forester and Subaru Outback are on pace to gain volume in 2016, following a strong 2015. Indeed, the Midsize SUV and Compact SUV segments have been gaining traction not only with consumers, but with OEMs, too, as market demand for the segment continues to rise."
LMC Automotive also comments; " Through the forecast horizon, we anticipate that Subaru's [US] market share will stabilize at around 3.3‐3.4%. Subaru will only add one model, a replacement for the Tribeca, over this period. The OEM announced plans to cap its global sales outlook at just over 1 mn units annually to maintain its niche brand status. However, it has also demonstrated its commitment to the region and is investing in its North American operations, with localized production of the Impreza and XV Crosstrek. Building where it sells these models could open up more profit and lead to possible growth in the region moving forward."
Subaru's light vehicle sales forecast by country
|Source: LMC Automotive "Global Automotive Production Sales (Q3 2016)"|
|(Note)1.||Data indicates figures of only small-size vehicle, including passenger cars and light commercial vehicles with gross vehicle weight of under 6 tons.|
|2.||All rights reserved. Reproduction of any data will require permission of LMC Automotive.|
|2.||For more information or inquiries of forecast data, please contact LMC Automotive.|
Subaru, Fuji Heavy, Eyesight, Impreza, US, platform
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