Subaru has said that it plans to build its first dedicated electric vehicle factory in Japan in the late 2020s.
The new electric vehicle factory is part of a $1.9 billion plan to respond to increasing demand for EVs from North American drivers.
“The market for EVs has been changing very rapidly over the past year,” said Subaru CEO Tomomi Nakamura.
The vehicles built in the new factory would be exported overseas, explained Nakamura. However, the Subaru CEO would not be drawn into revealing specific details around production numbers and whether it would also produce Toyota cars.
The announcement came on the same day that Subaru started accepting orders for its first EV, the Solterra. However, the Solterra was both jointly developed with and produced by Toyota.
Both companies have been relatively hesitant to commit to electric vehicles compared to their European and North American rivals. But, with demand surging – particularly in the US – it seems as though Toyota and Subaru have left themselves little choice but to follow the crowd.
Volkswagen, for example, announced the day before that it would be creating a new all-electric off-road brand called Scout to rival the likes of Rivian.
The Wolfsburg-based conglomerate is also planning to more than double its market share in the US and become the leading EV manufacturer in the country – overtaking the likes of Tesla.
Ford, meanwhile, is seeing continued interest in its all-electric F-150 pickup truck. GM, meanwhile, is also seeing a surprising amount of interest in its electric Hummer SUVs.
Clearly, for Subaru and Toyota, the writing was on the wall for the US market. EVs are the way to go. However, it remains to be seen whether the two Japanese companies and the Solterra SUV, will prove popular enough for them to make up the lost ground.