The executive vice president of Subaru of Indiana Automotive Inc. in Lafayette says the planned $140 million expansion involving more than 1,200 new jobs is a "show of confidence" by the parent company in its associates, community and the state of Indiana. In an interview on Inside INdiana Business Television, Tom Easterday also said the expansion could have a "tremendous multiplier effect," possibly leading to more than 10,000 total jobs connected to its suppliers and other partner companies. The automaker says increased demand for its Outback and Legacy models led to the growth plans.
Easterday cites a study from the Center For Automotive Research suggesting that, for each job created in the auto sector, 10 others result. The result is hundreds of openings and a great need for skilled workers. Easterday acknowledges finding those workers will be a challenge, but says education and training programs that began years ago to battle the skills gap are now "bearing fruit." He says those programs are crucial if Indiana wants to remain a national leader in the manufacturing sector.
SIA says the expansion will bring its work force to around 5,000 and boost capacity by about 100,000 units per year. Easterday says the automaker has 28 direct suppliers in the state and many more indirect suppliers.
The Lafayette SIA plant produces the Outback and Legacy models for Subaru as well as the Toyota Camry. It currently produces about 300,000 vehicles per year and employs around 3,800 workers. It is Subaru’s only production facility outside Japan.