How Subaru Improved New Forester And Outback Quality And 3 Reasons Why They Did It Fast
Last year, Subaru took a big hit because of quality issues in the Forester, Outback, Crosstrek, and Ascent models. In 2020 it's a different story for the Japanese automaker. Subaru reports profits have increased in 2020 18-fold because they have not had substantial warranty costs as they did in 2019.
Automotive News says, "Subaru's positive financial results reflect a return to more normal levels after the company booked hefty outlays to cover quality costs and recalls in the previous fiscal year." It's good news for customers.
Photo credit: Adventure Subaru
Quality was a big issue for Subaru in 2019 as the automaker issued eighteen recalls, effecting the Forester compact SUV (2), Outback wagon (2), Crosstrek subcompact SUV (5), Ascent 3-Row family hauler (5), Legacy sedan (2), and Impreza compact sedan and hatchback (2). The 2019 Subaru WRX, WRX STI, and BRZ were the only models with zero recalls.
The last recall on any model was September 2019. Subaru issued recalls, one each for the 2020 Subaru Outback and the 2020 Legacy sedan that share the same chassis components. Subaru recalled the two models because a brake pedal mounting bracket may have had an insufficiently tightened or missing bolt.
Photo credit: Adventure Subaru
How did Subaru quality improve so quickly?
It seems like Subaru improved quality in the 2020 Forester, Outback, Crosstrek, and Ascent overnight. Subaru Corporation improved quality quickly first by spending more than $1 billion starting in 2020. The plan was to slow production and implement new quality measures and training procedures at its two plants.
Second, Subaru Corporation revised its "Quality" policy after 25 years. Subaru announced March 29, 2019, "Based on the subsequent internal and external environmental changes, and repeated discussions throughout the company, we have reached a "Quality Policy" revision."
Subaru also established a new Quality Assurance Management Office that was operational on April 1, 2020. Executive Vice President, Atsushi Osaki (Chief Quality Officer), oversees group-wide quality assurance and develops and manages Subaru's organizational structure and systems to assure quality, maintain their effectiveness, and continually improve them.
Subaru's plan to improve quality in the 2020 Forester, Outback, Crosstrek, and Ascent is working because the automaker has had zero recalls in 2020. It's good news for customers who don't have to take their new vehicle into the service department and deal with the wait time for warranty issues.
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Denis Flierl has invested over 30 years in the automotive industry in a consulting role working with every major car brand. He is an accredited member of the Rocky Mountain Automotive Press. Check out Subaru Report where he covers all of the Japanese automaker's models. More stories can be found on the Torque News Subaru page. Follow Denis on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
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Photo credit: Competition Subaru, Adventure Subaru