Leaked Documents Reveal Subaru Is Concerned With New 2020 Outback Quality
Customers are waiting for the all-new seventh-generation 2020 Subaru Outback to arrive in September and it should be a big hit with a more powerful 2.4-liter turbo engine, new Global Platform with improved driving dynamics, a roomier cabin, and improved safety tech. But Subaru’s success in the U.S. could spur problems for the new Outback according to a report from Automotive News.
Torque news recently wrote about dealer concerns about the Ascent and the new 2020 Outback quality. Subaru’s U.S. National Retail Advisory Board wrote in a September 18th resolution, “We continue to be concerned that Subaru is not making the necessary investments and changes fast enough to ensure that vehicles are being produced with the quality the brand and its customers deserve.”
The new AN report says internal documents were leaked and say because production has ramped up at the U.S. plant in Indiana, suppliers cannot keep up with the demand for the new Subaru vehicles. The document is reported to say almost half of Subaru's North American suppliers are operating at quality levels below Subaru's internal target. To boost performance, Subaru is overhauling its own production processes and working with suppliers to fix the problem.
2020 Subaru Outback Quality issues
Subaru needs to get the all-new 2020 Outback launched with few quality issues this summer because it’s the brand’s most popular all-wheel-drive vehicle in the U.S. market. Issues with the all-new Ascent family hauler that launched last year is not helping the situation.
Tom Doll, CEO of Subaru of America at the Chicago Auto Show acknowledged dealers concerns with the new 2020 Outback quality. “A lot of it’s growing pains, right? But we’re not concerned at all about whether or not it’s going to get fixed or not. It will get fixed. We’re hopeful that it gets fixed fairly quickly.”
The leaked internal report says, the new 2020 Outback in the pre-production stages, has had problems with brake noise, seat wrinkles, 2.4-liter turbo engine oil dilution, extensive smoking following cold engine start, and battery failure.
Subaru also just recently received a less than stellar report from J.D. Power in its IQS scorecard and the Japanese automaker is aware they need to improve quality in their vehicles. Subaru’s quality planning and management department is apparently experiencing a defect rate with the Ascent SUV that is twice as high as the company's internal goal.
High Recall Rates
Subaru has also been stung with multiple recalls, and an April report says 70 percent of Subaru vehicles are the object of recalls or service campaigns within two years of being purchased. The report says Subaru wants to lower the recall rate to an acceptable 10 percent.
Subaru of Indiana Automotive (SIA), says part of the problem is upstream and the design team in Japan needs to get some of these problems fixed before they ever make it to the U.S. plant. Problems “should have been identified during development and pre-production confirmation testing,” the report said. SIA also sites "workforce instability" has been brought on by the rapid on-boarding of new workers as they get ready to start 2020 Outback production.
Subaru’s impressive growth in the past 10 years has led to growing pains in Japan and the U.S. market. Customers are eagerly waiting for the newly-redesigned 2020 Outback to arrive and expectations are high for the new SUV/Crossover all-wheel-drive vehicle. As the 2020 Subaru Outback begins pre-production, there are internal concerns the new seventh-generation SUV will have quality issues. Stay tuned.
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