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Fuji Heavy Industries Ltd. forecast at least 6% growth in U.S. sales of its Subaru-brand vehicles next year amid growing momentum in North America, the head of the company’s U.S. unit said. The auto maker expects its U.S. sales to reach at least 350,000 vehicles next year with the gains helping the company achieve its longer-term sales target ahead of schedule, said Takeshi Tachimori, president and chief executive of Subaru of America Inc., in a recent interview.

“Obviously, the U.S. is the most important market for Subaru,” Mr. Tachimori said, adding that sales in the region could account for 60% of targeted global sales of one million units within the decade. The company is considering advancing a plan to ramp up its U.S. production capacity by 2014 to mitigate the currency’s impact, Mr. Tachimori said. It remains unclear, however, if the car maker will shift production of key models to the U.S. as advocated by Mr. Tachimori.

Fuji Heavy is the smallest Japanese car maker by volume, but was one of only two domestic car makers to lift its profit outlook recently thanks to healthy sales in the U.S. Those sales will make up half its world-wide total in the current fiscal year through March.In calendar 2012, its U.S. sales are expected to jump 24% to 330,000 units from last year when the earthquake and tsunami took a heavy toll on vehicle production. He added that demand for the remodeled Impreza sporty compact also helped drive sales. An increase in sales, if achieved, would be the fifth straight year of growth in the market.

 

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