While the Japanese automaker has struggled at home.
2018 has been a landmark year for Subaru in the United States. In addition to selling its two millionth Outback, Subaru also sold its nine millionth car (a 2018 Crosstrek) in the US.
According to Automotive News, Subaru President Tomomi Nakamura believes the automaker's growth in the US will continue and has forecasted an 11th straight year of record sales volume in 2019.
Subaru plans to produce 1.03 million vehicles in 2019, which is an increase of 1% compared to 2018. This growth is mostly attributed to the company's success in the US. Meanwhile, Subaru has been struggling in its home market of Japan.
Subaru is still dealing with the aftermath of an investigation, which found the company guilty of falsifying emissions data in Japan. The company was forced to recall 530,000 vehicles in Japan, resulting in a 16% sales drop in the Japanese market. Fortunately for Subaru, this issue did not plague vehicles outside of the Japanese market.
In fact, Nakamura believes dealerships in the US can actually sell more cars. In December, US dealers maintained a low stock of Ascent, Crosstrek, and Forester, meaning people were buying them faster than Subaru could supply them. "Our US dealers said they could sell more. So, I see there is an opportunity in the US market," Nakamura said.
Despite the massive growth in the US, Subaru isn't rushing to build more cars. "We will be cautious about production," Nakamura said. Subaru's US sales increase by 5% to a record 680,135 vehicles in 2018, marking the 10th straight year of the company's growth. Perhaps this explains why Subaru finally decided to offer the new WRX STI S209 in the US only, after selling the previous models exclusively in Japan. This strategy of focusing on the US market has been successful for Subaru, though the plan could prove problematic if the US government decides to impose tariffs on Japan.