Why do customers have the most prolonged delays when they order a 2022 Subaru Forester or 2022 Crosstrek SUV? And much less time for the Outback when they order a new model from a Subaru of America retailer?
You can't order a 2022 Subaru Forester compact SUV today because orders are still shut off. If you order a 2022 Subaru Crosstrek subcompact SUV, it will take four to six months for a CVT automatic transmission trim level and even longer if you want a Crosstrek Premium trim with a 6-speed manual gearbox.
photo credit: Boise Subaru
Why is the wait less for the 2022 Outback at only two months if you order the new midsize SUV? Subaru Corporation manufactures the Forester and Crosstrek in Japan, and those models supply every global market, including North America. The Outback is produced in Lafayette, Indiana, and shipped to U.S. and Canadian retailers.
Subaru has loyal customers, and they are willing to wait to get new models like the 2022 Forester compact SUV and the 2022 Crosstrek subcompact SUV. How long will they keep waiting, and how can Subaru fix the lack of inventory of its two most popular models?
photo credit: Boise Subaru
Demand is high for Forester and Crosstrek
Subaru can't keep up with the demand for the refreshed 2022 Forester and had to shut off orders in the U.S. on March 7. The ordering pipeline for the Forester is full, and retailers can't get many of the compact SUVs. According to a report from Subaru, the microchip shortage dropped production in Japan by 40.3 percent in the last quarter of 2021.
Automotive News reports, Subaru's U.S. inventory of vehicles has dipped to a three-day supply (data from Cox Automotive). "Its normal comfort level is 45 days. And the popular all-wheel-drive niche brand is still adding about 10,000 vehicles a month to the swelling backlog," says AN.
Subaru CEO Tomomi Nakamura told Automotive News that backorders in the U.S. alone stood at around 45,000 vehicles at the year-end.
How does Subaru accommodate their Forester and Crosstrek customers?
Subaru of America adopts a sold-order system in which customer orders are logged somewhat like backorders. "This system existed from years ago, and when we have abundant inventory, we don't use it. But now, we've put it into action and evolved the system to make it better," Nakamura told AN.
Many orders are for the Outback and Forester Wilderness models
Nakamura says, "When you look into the sold orders, they aren't for the basic models but the unique or high-end models. Like the Wilderness editions of the Forester and Outback that we launched this year. The customers putting in orders for these vehicles are willing to wait."
Subaru of America is the Japanese automaker's largest market, selling nearly 70 percent of its vehicles. But only 35 percent of its cars are manufactured by Subaru Indiana Automotive (SIA).
How can Subaru fix their low Forester and Crosstrek inventory problem?
Subaru Corporation needs to shift manufacturing of the Forester and Crosstrek to its U.S. plant in Lafayette, Indiana. They should expand the manufacturing plant in the U.S. and could drop the slow-selling Legacy sedan that only had 1,417 models sold last month.
The plans should start now as demand for its two hottest models, the 2022 Forester and 2022 Crosstrek, increases each year.
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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: Boise Subaru