Americans LOVE Subaru Wagons more and more

Profits surged at Subaru Corp. in the latest quarter as the U.S. shift to crossovers and light trucks powered rising demand for the brand’s signature all-wheel-drive lineup.

Operating income climbed 18 percent to 119.34 billion yen for the company’s fiscal first quarter ended June 30, the carmaker said Thursday, while announcing results.

Net income increased 4.4 percent to 82.33 billion yen in the period. Revenue advanced 11 percent to 854.77 billion yen in the April-June period, driven by an 11 percent increase in worldwide sales to 271,300 vehicles.

In announcing the financial results, CFO Toshiaki Okada said Subaru was able to keep sales growing in the U.S., the company’s biggest market, despite cooling overall demand by tailoring new products to better match American tastes. Improvements to the retail network also helped.

“There is a shift to SUVs from sedans,” Okada said. “In that sense, that is a tailwind for us. As we mainly focus on SUVs, the growing popularity of SUVs is a good thing for us.”

North America, which accounts for about 70 percent of Subaru’s global sales, underpinned the expansion in Subaru’s first-quarter profits. Regional in North America grew 11 percent to 189,000 vehicles. Canada sales grew by just 100 units to 15,500 vehicles in the quarter.

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