Subaru adding 200 jobs, new SUV to Indiana plant

Subaru adding 200 jobs, new SUV to Indiana plant

Adding Ascent to Lafayette required $140 million investment.

December 5, 2017
By Robert Schoenberger
Cars/Light trucks Manufacturing

Cleveland, Ohio – Subaru, hoping to erase the collective memory of the oddly shaped Tribeca three-row SUV, plans to launch a more traditionally styled Ascent next year, and the company is putting $140 million and 200 jobs into its plant in Lafayette, Indiana to support it.

The SUV will go into production in May, hitting dealerships by next summer.

The automaker unveiled the SUV at the Los Angeles auto show last week and announced plans to make the vehicle in Indiana at a celebration at the plant.

Opened in 1989 as a joint venture between Subaru and Isuzu, the plant has grown throughout the decades and experienced several changes in partnerships. Isuzu pulled out of the U.S. light-vehicle industry in 2004, leaving the plant half empty. Though Subaru increased production slightly, production remained under capacity for several years. In 2007, Toyota took a large stake in Subaru, a deal that allowed that automaker to use excess capacity in Indiana to produce Camry sedans.

Though the companies remain partners, Toyota pulled out of the plant in 2016 as its capacity had grown with plants in Mississippi and Texas, and because Subaru had enough demand for its Legacy, Outback, and Impreza vehicles to fill the plant by itself.

“For 30 years (the company broke ground on the facility in 1987), Subaru has spurred economic growth, and I’m confident they will witness continued success as we work to take Indiana to the next level by growing our economy and developing the skills of our workforce,” Gov. Eric Holcomb said at the plant announcement.

About the author: Robert Schoenberger is the editor of Today's Motor Vehicles and a contributor to Today's Medical Developments and Aerospace Manufacturing and Design. He has written about the automotive industry for more than 17 years at The Plain Dealer in Cleveland, Ohio; The Courier-Journal in Louisville, Kentucky.