Saturday, December 20, 2014

Subaru starts 2011 with double-digit sales increase

The Cherry Hill-based arm of a Japanese automaker has recorded higher year-over-year sales in 19 of the last 20 months.

Subaru starts 2011 with double-digit sales increase

Ho-hum, just another double-digit monthly sales increase for Subaru of America Inc., the Cherry Hill-based arm of the niche Japanese automaker.

January sales were 18,858 units, up 20.8 percent from the 15,611 vehicles sold in the same month of 2010.

After all, it seems as though every automaker is reporting double-digit sales growth for January.

However, for Subaru, January's higher sales marked the 19th time in 20 months that the maker of the Outback and Forester has increased sales year over year. The only exception was August 2010 when comparisons with the previous year were skewed by the popular federal "Cash for Clunkers" program.

Sure, Subaru - a subsidiary of Fuji Heavy Industries Ltd. - isn't among the top six companies in terms of share of the U.S. automobile market.

General Motors Co. reported its own 22 percent rise in January sales, amounting to 178,896 vehicles rolling off dealers lots last month. By way of comparison, Subaru sold a total of 263,820 units in all of last year.

But according to Inc., which aggregates all sorts of information on the auto industry, no car company spends less on incentive programs than Subaru. In January, Subaru spent $548 per vehicle sold. GM spent $3,762 per vehicle sold.

In fact, GM spent more on incentives in January than any of its top rivals, said Jessica Caldwell, Edmunds'com director of industry analysis, in a statement.

Subaru, with its 2.3 percent market share of U.S. auto sales, may never challenge GM with its 19.1 percent share. But it's been able to continue to grow consistently through what has been one of the most difficult periods for the auto industry.

As a result, Subaru now sells more vehicles in the United States than Mazda, which sold 229,566 units in 2010 - good enough for a 2 percent market share. Mazda reported a 9.1 percent decrease in January sales to 14,267 units.

Who's zoom-zooming now?

Mike Armstrong Inquirer Columnist
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Mike Armstrong blogs about Philadelphia corporations and business-related topics. Contact him at 215-854-2980. Reach Mike at

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