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Fuji Heavy Targets 6% Sales Gain in 2013 Led by Forester Demand

Fuji Heavy Industries Ltd., the maker of Subaru cars, targets a 6 percent increase in global sales, spurred by the introduction of a new Forester SUV model and demand for its Impreza and XV crossover vehicles.

Deliveries will probably rise to 750,000 in 2013 from 706,612 last year, the carmaker said today in a statement. Sales in China will climb about 32 percent to 57,500 units.

The Tokyo-based automaker will use an existing line in the U.S. to increase output, including production of a new model in 2016, President Yasuyuki Yoshinaga told reporters in Tokyo. It will announce details at the end of March on the plan to boost production, he said.

Fuji Heavy will raise output at its Lafayette, Indiana, factory, Yoshinaga said. Sales in the U.S., its largest market, rose 20 percent in 2012 to a record, led by the Impreza hatchback. A boost in U.S. capacity is key to the company’s mid-term target through March 2016, which includes 380,000 deliveries to the U.S. out of 850,000 shipments worldwide.

The Lafayette plant opened in 1989, initially as a joint venture with truckmaker Isuzu Motors Ltd. It currently makes Outback wagons, Legacy sedans and Tribeca sport-utility vehicles as well as Camry sedans for Toyota Motor Corp. under contract.

The factory can produce a maximum of 310,000 vehicles annually, based on state air-pollution limits, Jennifer McGarvey, a spokeswoman for the factory, said last month.

Michael McHale, a company spokesman, has said 50,000 units of production capacity would be added should Impreza hatchback or Forester SUV production be moved to Indiana. Average, as the automaker’s lack of manufacturing plants in China shielded the company from the sales slump in the country relative to Toyota, Nissan Motor Co. and Honda Motor Co. A weaker yen also boosted the share price.

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