Car Industry

Subaru's Japanese plants back in action after defect forced shutdown

The shutdown lasted 12 days, but people in the US shouldn't even notice.

Antuan Goodwin/Roadshow

In less than a week, Subaru's assembly plants in Japan's Gunma prefecture are back up and running.

Subaru announced on Monday that it has restarted production at two of its Japanese plants, following a 12-day shutdown. The plants combine to produce the majority of Subaru's vehicles, including the Crosstrek, Forester and Impreza, some of which are imported to the US.

The automaker was able to restart its plants after it developed a countermeasure for a power-steering defect. Subaru announced last week that it had shut down two plants on Jan. 16, after it discovered a problem that may cause vehicles to lose power steering. At the time, it expected to have the plants up and running by Jan. 28, and it met that goal. It's still unclear what part caused the defect, however, and how the new part addresses that.

Subaru buyers in the US shouldn't face any recalls. After the shutdown was announced, a spokesperson for Subaru in the US said that approximately 10,000 examples of the Crosstrek and Forester may be affected, but none of the affected units have even reached dealers yet. Thus, any necessary fix will be implemented before the vehicles are put on sale. Vehicles manufactured at Subaru's plant in Indiana are unaffected.

In 2017, Subaru's plants were hit with a different kind of problem. Late that year, the automaker admitted to decades of "flawed" inspections. The inspections, which were for Japanese-market vehicles, were done using employees who were not actually authorized to do the inspections. Some vehicles were recalled for subsequent inspections by authorized personnel.