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Subaru supply should improve

Subaru Australia managing director Nick Senior says sales targets are around 700 per month.

But not in the disastrous manner of 2011, when the  brand's production was stalled by natural disasters. 

The Australian arm of the Japanese car maker may struggle to get enough of its two new models, the Impreza and the XV, until production capacity is improved later this year. 

Subaru Australia managing director Nick Senior says sales targets are around 700 per month. "Last year was 11,000 with 2000 WRX - our biggest problem will be supply for Impreza and XV - adding the XV we have another model without increasing production capacity, that's later this year," he says. 

The introduction of the rear-wheel drive BRZ (a shared development with Toyota) has given Subaru a boost as it continues to overcome its 2011 performance that was marred  by natural disasters. 

"It has already started doing things for us, there's a focus on Subaru since the announcement, with all the coverage and the unveiling - we've never seen so much coverage for the brand. 

"When it goes on sale there will be a potentially new audience for us," he says. While the rear-wheel drive model has been seen by some in the industry as a dilution of the Subaru All Wheel Drive mantra, Mr Senior says there were no plans to go front-wheel drive with its new Impreza to provide a cut-price contender in the small car market.

"The short answer is no - we've been able to demonstrate that the changes we've made to the Impreza, in terms of weight reduction and transmission technology, has put us towards the top of the pack.

"In terms of fuel efficient and low emissions, a competitive price, the strategy we have adopted is the correct strategy and there's not a lot of benefit to gain from trying to compete at the bottom end with a front wheel drive car in that category," he says. 

Sales targets for 2011 were set above the brand's 2010 record of around 40,000, numbers. Mr Senior is aiming to see in the year-to-date total column at the end of December, but without resorting to a front-wheel drive model. 

"We at the moment have a point of difference in the small car class, we've demonstrated it doesn't have to add weight and in fuel consumption we are ahead, we've addressed a whole lot of issues - there's not going to be a huge saving going FWD any way, our system is simple and we do it efficiently," he says. 

Four new Subarus will grace local showrooms over the next 12 months - XV, Impreza, BRZ and Forester - but the wait for new WRX and STI models (now a line-up divorced from the Impreza) will be a little longer. 

"WRX and STI is now it's own model in its own right, the business model is being done at the moment, it will not be here this year - we've seen the strongest WRX sales we've seen in the last 5 years on the changes made, that will continue for a couple of years," Mr Senior says.

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