In 2012, Fuji Heavy Industries, the maker of Subaru-branded automobiles, intends to halt minivehicle production. The exact timing of the suspension has not been announced, but it seems likely that when Fuji Heavy withdraws from the minivehicle segment, the automaker's only electric vehicle, the battery-powered Subaru Stella, will cease to exist.
Fuji Heavy introduced the ¥4.73 million ($58,028 U.S. at the current exchange rate) plug-in Stella back in July of 2009. The electric minivehicle was initially offered for fleet use and most of the models shipped out to Japanese corporations and local governments. Production volume of the electric Stella is low, as the automaker intends to sell only 400 units by the end of March 2011, but the battery-powered mini is Subaru's only plug-in offering, and losing it would, at least temporarily, knock Subaru out of the electric segment. Is that where an automaker wants to be right now?