- Associated Press - Thursday, September 11, 2014

LAFAYETTE, Ind. (AP) - Workers at a Subaru factory have marked the 25th anniversary of the first vehicles rolling off assembly lines at the plant, which is projected to make more than 260,000 vehicles this year.

On Sept. 11, 1989, a Subaru Legacy sedan and an Isuzu light truck became the first vehicles produced by the 2.3-million-square-foot plant on Lafayette’s east side.

A few days later, state and local leaders joined about 800 workers and executives from Subaru parent company Fuji Heavy Industries Ltd. and Isuzu Motors Ltd. in celebrating the Japanese partnership.

Subaru of Indiana executive vice president Tom Easterday said some people doubted the plant would be successful because at the time trucks and cars simply weren’t built at the same factory.

“You did not have a truck and car made in the same plant. That was unheard of,” Easterday told the Journal & Courier (http://on.jconline.com/1tBEBdk ).

The plant survived Isuzu’s 2004 departure and went on to win a Toyota contract in 2007 to begin producing Camrys.

Last year, after Toyota announced it would not renew its contract, Subaru of Indiana won Fuji’s approval to produce Subaru Imprezas - a decision that saved jobs that would have been lost by the end of Toyota contract.

The plant is projected to manufacture 262,053 vehicles in 2014, compared with the 4,087 made there in 1989.

“While going from building 2 to 1,306 units in a single day we defied many skeptics along the way,” Easterday wrote recently in a plant newsletter.

Gene Davenport, who’s worked for 24 years at the plant, said that when he started working at the factory friends questioned his decision to work for an auto manufacturer.

Davenport said he envisioned a stable income to support his family.

“It was a new company, and I thought it would be a very secure job with much better pay and benefits,” he said.

___

Information from: Journal and Courier, http://www.jconline.com

LOAD COMMENTS ()

 

Click to Read More

Click to Hide