Subaru predicts higher U.S. sales in 2012, will launch hybrid image

Fuji Heavy Industries, the parent company of Subaru, has announced it forecasts an increase in sales in the United States next year.

“Sales next year will definitely top this year’s and reach about 300,000 units. Sales in the U.S. may beat last year’s as early as this year,” president Yasuyuki Yoshinaga was quoted as saying by Bloomberg at the Tokyo Motor Show.

The company also announced plans to introduce a hybrid vehicle in 2013, previewed by the Advanced Tourer Concept hybrid wagon showcased in Tokyo. Powered by a gasoline 1.6-liter four-cylinder boxer engine and an electric motor linked to a lithium-ion battery pack, the ATC gives also hints about the design of future Subaru models. “It’s our way of showing we think there is a market in the future for a small, sporty wagon,” spokesman Michael McHale said.

CEO Yoshinaga also talked about the ever-present problem for Japanese manufacturers, that of the strong yen. “Even though overseas production is increasing, domestic output hasn’t declined much. This is what I’m concerned about,” said Yasuyuki Yoshinaga. He added that Subaru expects sales in China to reach 58,000 units this year.