TOKYO - Fuji Heavy Industries plans an ambitious five-year expansion for its Subaru brand, including a 50 percent growth in Europe, as it exploits its new ties with General Motors.
'We intend to be a global player with a premium brand,' said Fuji President Takeshi Tanaka. 'We are looking for GM-related synergies as soon as possible.'
In April, GM bought a 20 percent stake in Fuji, maker of Subaru cars.
Over the next five years, Fuji aims to boost Subaru's worldwide sales 38 percent to 800,000, and nearly double its profits, Tanaka said. 'This will be possible mainly thanks to the benefits of the global alliance,' he said.
The 38 percent unit sales gain includes a 52 percent rise in European sales to 87,000.
The five-year plan also calls for Fuji and GM to rebadge each others' vehicles for sale in key markets, and to work on joint development of new models in the USA and, with GM-affiliate Suzuki Motor Corp., in Europe.
Tanaka also said that Fuji hopes to share parts for minivehicles, cars and trucks with engines under 660cc, with Suzuki. But he admitted that those talks are not as advanced as the talks on joint projects with GM.