A key piece of a multi-year, $1.3 billion investment to increase production at Subaru of Indiana Automotive Inc. in Lafayette has come to fruition. The first 2017 Subaru Impreza rolled off the assembly line Tuesday, marking the culmination of more than three years of preparation. Senior Executive Vice President Tom Easterday says, in addition to hiring an additional 1,400 associates in the past year, the investment has reaped economic benefits for dozens of SIA’s direct material suppliers in Indiana.
During an interview with Inside INdiana Business, Easterday said, at a time when many manufacturers are moving production to other countries, the billion-dollar investment in SIA makes a "tremendous statement."
The new vehicle is the first-ever American-made Impreza from Subaru. The Impreza had previously only been produced in Japan. SIA says it is also the first vehicle build using its Subaru Global Platform architecture, designed to boost safety, agility and comfort. The vehicle will be available to consumers later this year.
SIA first announced plans to begin producing the Impreza in 2013, as part of a $400 million investment. Parent company Fuji Heavy Industries Ltd. said the move of production to Lafayette is because of increased American demand. With the addition of the Impreza, SIA is expected to produce more than 380,000 vehicles each year. The automaker says SIA associates have built nearly five million vehicles since the plant began production in September 1989.
The Lafayette plant employs more than 5,500 associates. Other models built there include the Subaru Legacy and Outback.
Subaru of America Inc. hopes the arrival of the 2017 Impreza will continue recent sales momentum. The automaker announced Tuesday that it sold 53,760 vehicles in October 2016, which is a 4.1 percent increase over October 2015.