Subaru launches Ascent output at Indiana plant

The 2019 Subaru Ascent is the largest vehicle in the brand’s history.

Production of the 2019 Subaru Ascent, Subaru of America’s long-awaited three-row crossover, commenced Monday at the automaker’s plant in Lafayette, Ind.

The Ascent is the latest model to join the production lineup at the automaker’s U.S. plant since Impreza sedan and hatchback output was shifted there from Japan in late 2016.

The Legacy and Outback are also built at the Indiana plant, the automaker’s only vehicle manufacturing site outside of Japan.

The Subaru Ascent, which starts at $ 32,970 including shipping, is set to arrive at Subaru retailers starting in late June.

The crossover, available in a 7- or 8-seat layout, is the largest model ever designed and engineered in the automaker’s history.

Subaru built around 364,000 vehicles at the Indiana plant last year. Ascent production is expected to increase output to around 400,000 vehicles annually, the automaker said.

The automaker has been without a three-row crossover, a key segment in the U.S. market, since production of the low-volume Tribeca, also built in Indiana, ended in early 2014.

Subaru is forecasting U.S. sales of 680,000 vehicles in 2018, or about a 5 percent increase over 2017 sales, with the Ascent seen as a critical contributor. Subaru’s U.S. deliveries have advanced 3.2 percent this year through April, and the brand remains on pace to post 10 consecutive years of record U.S. sales.

Subaru, which invested $ 140 million and added 200 jobs for Ascent production, held a ceremony to mark output of the first model on Monday.

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