LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI & AP) - The expansion at the Lafayette Subaru facility will create hundreds of jobs – and it's bringing $400 million and a new Subaru model to the factory.
Gov. Mike Pence confirmed Fuji Heavy Industries is expanding its Lafayette Subaru factory by adding 900 workers and investing $400 million in the plant. Starting in 2016, Subaru of Indiana Automotive will build the Impreza.
Currently, the Subaru Legacy, Outback and Tribeca SUV are all made at the Lafayette plant – as well as the Toyota Camry under a contract with the Toyota Motor Corp.
The 900 new jobs will add to the current tally of about 3,600 employees. The expansion means the 832-acre plant will grow by more than 500,000 square feet. It also comes with the installation of new equipment in the paint and body assembly sections, and changes to overall process flow.
"We are proud that Indiana will be home to the continued investment of a world-class company like Subaru," Pence said Wednesday. "With our competitive tax climate, strong workforce and unmatched infrastructure, the world recognizes that the Hoosier State is open for business."
Subaru spokesman Yoshiaki Tabei said the target date for starting production of the Impreza is the end of 2016.
At the end of the fiscal year in March, Subaru had sold 724,500 vehicles globally. That's up 13 percent from the previous year. 357,000 were sold in the U.S. 163,100 were sold in Japan. In the past five years, Subaru's U.S sales have doubled.
Due largely to a shortage of vehicles on dealer lots, the amount of Imprezas sold in the U.S. have fallen 31 percent this year. In fact, Ward's Automotive said Subaru has only enough Imprezas on the ground to supply dealers for 29 days. A 60-day supply is considered optimal.
108,000 Imprezas were sold in the U.S. this past fiscal year. All of those vehicles were imports from Japan.
Incorporated in Indiana in 1987, Subaru of Indiana Automotive (SIA) has produced more than 3.9 million vehicles since it began production in 1989. This includes a company record of 271,583 vehicles in its fiscal year that ended on March 31.
The Indiana Economic Development Corporation offered SIA up to $9,500,000 in conditional tax credits and up to $500,000 in training grants based on the company's job creation plans. These tax credits are performance-based, meaning until Hoosiers are hired, the company is not eligible to claim incentives.
The city of Lafayette will consider additional property tax abatement at the request of the Greater Lafayette Commerce.
"A lot of us can remember when it was first announced that Subaru was going to locate in Lafayette and what that would mean for our economy," Lafayette Mayor Tony Roswarski (D) said. "They have far exceeded any of our expectations. We are privileged to be a partner with Subaru, their management here and in Japan and every associate on this momentous occasion. I couldn't be more pleased with their continued confidence in our community and look forward to our shared growth and prosperity."
SIA says Wednesday's announcement is the company's second major expansion in the city in less than a year.
Back in May of 2012, SIA made plans to invest $75 million to increase its capacity from 156,000 to 180,000 units annually with no overtime, creating up to 100 new jobs by next year.
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