By Andrew Ganz
Friday, Dec 7th, 2012 @ 8:29 am
 

After announcing a $75 million investment in its Lafayette, Indiana, assembly plant, Subaru is actively pursuing another expansion project that could see either the compact Subaru Impreza or the Subaru Forester crossover built in the United States for the first time.

Subaru is also considering building a separate assembly plant in the U.S., although an expansion of the Indiana plant could happen much quicker, which would help further insulate the Japanese automaker from a strong yen and a weak dollar. Subaru currently builds all of the Imprezas and Foresters it sells in North America in its home market of Japan.

For now, Subaru's U.S. CEO isn't going into details, although he did acknowledge the challenging exchange rate.

"At some point, a decision could be made to bring further production to the United States," Subaru's Tom Doll told Bloomberg Radio.

But the exchange rate isn't the only reason Subaru is considering building more cars here - its sales are up 29 percent this year overall and strong demand boosted the automaker 60 percent in November alone. Much of that growth is coming from the redesigned-for-2012 Impreza, but a recently-unveiled 2014 Forester is also expected to perform strongly in the marketplace thanks to its improved fuel economy.

A report suggests that Subaru is under pressure to build more cars in the U.S. by major stakeholder Toyota, which assembles nearly all of its volume models in plants scattered across the United States, including a minivan, crossover and SUV assembly plant in Princeton, Indiana.