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Is Subaru Having A Quality Crisis?

Industry News

The Japanese automaker needs to solve this issue.

Subaru's popularity in the United States has been on the rise as the Japanese automaker has enjoyed ten straight years of sales growth. Earlier this year, Subaru even produced its four millionth car, a 2019 Outback, hitting a major production milestone in the process. The news sounds mostly positive for Subaru but in the midsts of these sales and production achievements, the company has been forced to issue recalls on millions of vehicles.

Over 250,000 Outbacks and Legacy models were recalled in 2018, followed by two to three million more in early 2019. The recalls have seriously hurt the company's profit margins and Automotive News reports efforts are now being made to correct the recent quality issues.

Internal reports on the process show Subaru's suppliers were working at a quality point below the target level, which could explain the company's recent recall woes. In order to solve the issue, Subaru will overhaul its production process and work with suppliers to improve quality. Subaru has built its brand reputation on quality, so these issues need be solved as soon as possible.

On the most recent JD Power Initial Quality Survey, Subaru slid well below the industry average down to the 26th spot on the list. As the company looks to have its 11th straight year on increase sales, an internal report from Subaru of Indiana Automotive says the company is aiming to claim the number one spot on the JD Power list for 2020, which is a lofty goal.

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It won't be an easy road for Subaru to climb from the near bottom of the quality survey all the way to the top. A report by Subaru's Quality Improvement Committee outlines the scope of the problem with a quadrupling of warranty, recall, and other claims on new vehicles in 2019. Subaru hasn't confirmed the reports are correct but has issued a statement on the matter.

"We acknowledge that over the past year we had more recalls than Subaru would like," a spokesperson said. "We want there to be zero. But when faced with a quality problem, we have been able to move quickly to get ahead of issues that might affect our customers. We learn from every vehicle launch and use what we learn to be a better car company. Our goal is to launch every vehicle with the highest standards of safety, reliability, and quality."