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Subaru Has Lowest Inventory Of Any Automaker; Does It Help Or Hurt Customers?

Subaru has the lowest inventory of any automaker. See what it means for customers.

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Subaru customers may have a problem getting that new 2019 Subaru Crosstrek crossover, Ascent 3-Row, Outback wagon or Forester SUV. If you go into your Subaru dealer this summer, you may have to wait weeks to get the exact model and color you want. According to a report from Automotive News, Subaru has one of the lowest inventory levels of any automaker in the US.

Subaru is not the biggest Japanese automaker, but they have the longest running monthly string of growth of any car brand. Subaru also has one of the lowest incentives in the industry although they are going up this year. They do it by keeping inventory levels low, even slowing production so they can keep supplies low and demand high.

What it means for customers

Car inventory levels in the U.S. continue to fall from the highs of a year ago, but in the case of Subaru of America, those leaner stock levels may be getting uncomfortable and it will mean longer wait times for customers to get the model you want. Automotive News Data shows Subaru's inventory level fell to just 26 days on Aug. 1, its lowest point of the year and the lowest for any brand or automaker so far in 2018. Mercedes-Benz USA has a 45 day supply, Acura and Audi are next with a 47-day supply.

The newly-redesigned Subaru Crosstrek is the hottest nameplate in the stable and remains in strong demand. Subaru is also trimming down Forester levels as they prepare to launch the new fifth-generation small SUV this fall. Both Crosstrek and Forester are produced at the Gunma factory in Japan, while the new 2019 Subaru Ascent 3-Row, Outback, Impreza, and Legacy are made in the US plant in Indiana.

If you are looking for a new 2019 Subaru Crosstrek, Forester, Ascent or Outback, you may want to start shopping a few months before you planned on buying that new all-wheel-drive vehicle so you get the car you want. Keeping inventory levels lower than any automaker seems to be working because Subaru of America has now logged 80 straight months of yearly month-over-month growth as of July 2018. It’s an incredible run for the smallest Japanese automaker as no other brand has been able to pull this off. Now can they continue to do it and still keep customers happy?

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Photo credit: Fox Subaru

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Ed B (not verified)    August 15, 2018 - 11:22AM

This comes down to planning really. I just ordered 3-4 months in advance with my specs to insure I got what I wanted. Many chose to simply buy off the lot. Subaru does have a pretty easy ordering process and ultimately you get the vehicle you want. So, if you're in a hurry you won't have much in the way of choice.

Tyler (not verified)    August 15, 2018 - 4:20PM

Well it doesn't always work this way but less production and more quality control will always benefit the customer. People may not like having to wait but knowing their car goes through rigorous quality check might make it worth it. Especially with high NHTSA saftey rating. I know subaru got in trouble for letting cars go through inspections before but I believe the guy in charge was forced to resign and now there is a better person in his place.

Kole (not verified)    August 15, 2018 - 4:20PM

Subaru's low inventories hurt our local dealership because it's already small, so I travel 5 hours to Houston and buy there instead.

Derek (not verified)    August 15, 2018 - 8:51PM

Subaru makes quality cars. That said it is pretty crappy to go in and want to by a new Forester and be told it will be in six weeks.