Crossover & Midsize Crossovers

Subaru Reportedly Racing to Improve Build Quality and Reliability

2020 Subaru Outback

With the launch of its next-generation Outback looming large, Subaru has put in more effort to fix glitches that may ruin the momentous event. Recent product launches have had numerous quality issues. The Japanese brand intends to fix those issues and deliver top quality and reliable products.

In spite of the hitches, the midsize wagon continues to lead the way in terms of car sales – setting new sales records every other month. The rising number of recalls has done little to keep clients from purchasing Subaru’s vehicles. Automotive News recently reported that Subaru is worried that this may not always be the case (which is why it’s working hard to improve quality).

North American suppliers are among the most significant pain points for Subaru. It hopes to sort out all issues before completing the long-awaited Outback crossover.

Poor Quality

According to Automotive News, Subaru intends to revamp its production process. The brand’s quality levels were well below its quality expectations. It expects a boost in performance if all goes well. The automaker blames parts suppliers and Japan designers for low-quality products.

A June 5 report also blamed the drop in quality on an influx of new workers. The automaker’s sense of teamwork had gone down as it brought on board new workers. As a result of this decline, Subaru could no longer solve problems in real-time according to the report.

Subaru’s Goals

Back in April, the car manufacturer’s quality planning division released a report highlighting its build quality and reliability goals. When Consumer Reports conducted the Auto Reliability Survey in 2018, Subaru was ranked position four. However, the automaker took the second position in this spring’s report. It has now set its eyes on the top spot.

The internal report about the brand’s Indiana plant also mentioned that it intends to make improvements in the Quality Study that J.D. Power runs. Subaru is determined to avoid a place in the lower ranks. The Japan automaker has not done well recently according to this report card.

115 problems per 100 vehicles in 2018 caused it to be among the last four in the list. Subaru hopes to have no more than 90 issues per 100 cars when J.D. Power compiles the 2020 report. Breaking out of the bottom is top on its priority list.

Subaru’s Challenge

Subaru’s Quality Improvement Committee painted a grim picture of the automaker’s quality status. Quality-related claims had topped $2.7 billion in the last five years. Recall and warranty claims were also on the rise according to the damning report.

Although Subaru didn’t confirm or deny the claims, its spokesperson insisted that it is firmly committed to building top-quality vehicles. She mentioned that Subaru strives to tackle any quality issues that consumers bring to its attention. She also pointed out that Subaru continuously upgrades each new vehicle.

Areas of Concern

The April report stated that the Ascent crossover and Impreza small car experienced cumulative defect rates that were way behind Subaru’s target. The quality planning and management department’s report did not sugarcoat the brand’s failures.

Battery failure, seat wrinkles, oil dilution, and brake noise had plagued the company’s products since the completion of the Ascent launch. Subaru was determined to ensure that the rollout of the Outback would be seamless.

Some of Subaru of America’s cars had oil dilution in its 2.4-liter turbocharged engines. The parent company intends to keep this situation in check. Subaru had learned its lesson and promised improvements during the next-generation Outback launch.

The report recommended quality improvements in the design manufacturing process. Local decisions that don’t rely on final overseas approval could also have a positive impact on the reliability and quality of Subaru vehicles.

All photos provided by the manufacturer unless otherwise noted.