Is Subaru Quality Improving? One Important Indicator Says Yes
Does Subaru make quality cars? There is one indicator consumers can look at to check an automaker's quality. The number of recalls in its entire lineup of vehicles. Subaru had many quality issues for the 2019 model year, and customers and its dealer network were concerned. Subaru of America issued eighteen recalls in 2019, effecting Forester (2), Outback (2), Crosstrek (5), Ascent (5), Legacy (2), and Impreza (2). The 2019 Subaru WRX, WRX STI, and BRZ were the only models with zero recalls.
Subaru quality has leaped forward compared to the 2019 models. For the 2020 model change, Subaru has issued two recalls, one for the 2020 Subaru Outback, and one for the 2020 Legacy sedan. Both Outback and Legacy are built at the plant in Lafayette, Indiana, on the same chassis and share common parts. Subaru recalled the two models because a brake pedal mounting bracket may have had an insufficiently tightened or missing bolt.
The last recall on any 2020 model was one year ago on September 27, 2019. What did Subaru do differently for the 2020 model year?
In January, Torque News reported Subaru would spend more than $1 billion over the next five years to improve quality in their vehicles. "The fix partly called for slowing production and implementing new quality measures and training procedures," the report from Automotive News (by subscription) said.
Last year Subaru Corporation revised its "Quality" policy after 25 years. The old system established in November 1994 was short and to the point, "Always thinking first about customer satisfaction, improve work quality and provide top quality products and services."
Subaru announced March 29, 2019, "Based on the subsequent internal and external environmental changes, repeated discussions throughout the company, we have reached a "Quality Policy" revision."
Subaru said they would attempt to develop a "culture of quality" by using the new quality policy as a daily guide with all employees, and as a guideline for practicing the words "quality first" with ongoing promotion at their Gunma plant.
Subaru Corporation also made organizational changes by establishing a new Quality Assurance Management Office that was operational on April 1, 2020.
The new Quality Assurance office is under the direct control of the Executive Vice President, Atsushi Osaki (Chief Quality Officer). Osaki oversees group-wide quality assurance and develops and manages the Subaru Group's organizational structure and systems to assure quality, maintain their effectiveness, and continually improve them.
Is 2020 Subaru Forester, Outback, Crosstrek, and Ascent quality improving? The Japanese automaker will spend $1 billion over the next five years and appointed a new Chief Quality Officer to develop a "culture of quality." It's working because Subaru has zero recent recalls in 2020.
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 and the founder of 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: Subaru, Subaru Canada - Haley McIntosh in her new 2020 WRX