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Subaru's Massive Success Creates Another Problem

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The solution is very simple.

When the economy tanked nearly a decade ago and the Great Recession got underway, automakers like General Motors and Chrysler were hit hard, putting it mildly. Bankruptcy changes everything. But there was one mainstream automaker who thrived when Detroit nearly came crashing down. Subaru achieved 10 straight years of US sales records as of last year and that figure is expected to grow again this year. But that success also comes at a price, as Automotive News reports.

Because Subaru's US vehicles in operation have more than doubled in the past six years alone to about 3.5 million (by 2024 Subaru predicts over 5 million vehicles), there's now a shortage of dealership technicians. All of those Subarus require regular maintenance and when there aren't enough qualified people to do the work, then long wait times are the result. That's not good for customer service, to say the least.

Around 390,000 new auto technicians enter the job market every year, but the data also indicates new-vehicle dealerships need to replace about 76,000 technicians every year due to retirements and those who quit the field entirely. Combined with more vehicles on the road, Subaru has found itself in a tough position. Fortunately, Subaru is well-established regarding technical education. The Subaru University program has some 4,360 students at 265 technical schools in the US as well as dealership internships. Last year, Subaru hired 2,323 new techs, but due to attrition, the net increase is only 613 technicians over the previous year.

Subaru is fully aware of the problem and remains confident it can continue to increase its certified technicians, especially in light of all of those recalls. Ironically, some of those recalls are the result of factory mistakes that occurred because of high demand. Increasing production output has its drawbacks.

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But Subaru also notes it outperforms the industry average in limiting technician attrition. Only around one-fourth of its dealership technicians quit each year. It dropped to 19 percent last year. Subaru's demand for technicians will only increase again in the very near future once more dealerships are opened. These in-demand technicians also need to be very computer savvy because the vehicles themselves are more high-tech than ever.

So, in other words, Subaru is seeking young people. For those interested, you're guaranteed plenty of work upon graduation from Subaru University.