Subaru puts China production on hold amidst slowing growth

Subaru's 2015 sales and production forecast estimates the Japanese brand to sell about 60,000 vehicles in China this year, a 10 percent rise. However, a recent decision not to build a factory there might make future growth more difficult. Given the changing state of the market, the automaker doesn't seem concerned by the potentially lost sales.

According to Bloomberg, even if the Chinese government gave permission for Subaru to build its planned joint venture factory with Chery, the Japanese brand would not take advantage of it. "Since the profits are split with your partner, you would have to double the sales to maintain the profits you earn by exporting from Japan," said Akira Mabuchi, the company's executive in charge of China, according to Bloomberg.

Subaru is in the odd position of being the only major Japanese automaker without a joint venture partner to build cars in China, but the massive year-over-year growth there seems to be slowing. Auto sales in China were up 6.9 percent in 2014, according to Bloomberg, compared to 14 percent in 2013. Also, Chinese consumers have been famously averse to buying Japanese vehicles with only half of the consumers there even willing to purchase one.

Instead, the company is focusing on the US market, according to Bloomberg. The decision makes sense. While Subie's sales in China shrunk 2 percent in 2014 to about 55,000 vehicles, the company grew 21 percent in the US to 514,000 units. The automaker already has plans to add capacity to its factory in Indiana.

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