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Subaru Tribeca, Mazda 6 To Be Discontinued: Report

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On: Mon, May 16, 2011 at 9:38AM | By: Tim Healey

Subaru Tribeca, Mazda 6 To Be Discontinued: Report

A report in Automotive News suggests that the Mazda6 and Subaru Tribeca, two American-built vehicles from Japanese manufacturers, may not be long for this world.

Of the two, the Tribeca seems to be in more trouble. A Japanese newspaper, Nikkan Kogyo, is reporting that Subaru has halted research and development on the Tribeca, which is built in Indiana, and that production will end when the current version is ready to be retired. Slow sales and a desire to build more of the popular Outback and Legacy models seem to be spurring the move.

As for the 6, which is built in Flat Rock, Michigan in a joint venture with Ford, Mazda officials flatly deny plans to stop making the car. But they do not comment on future plans at Flat Rock.

Which means that Mazda, which had planned to build 100,000 units of the 6 at Flat Rock annually before the Great Recession hit, could be looking to keep the car alive but move production elsewhere, such as in Mexico. Or Mazda could bring another car into the plant or quit building cars there completely.

This really is a tale of two cars—one of which has been a slow seller (the Tribeca), the other which hasn't sold up to expectations (the 6), in part because of the global recession, and in part because it wasn't quite as well-received as its predecessor.

The 6 might still have a more stable future, thanks to the fact that it shares its underpinnings with the Ford Fusion, and because Mazda probably would not want to abandon the mid-size market, especially if sales recover. Perhaps more likely is that production could shift until the next generation car is ready.

Either way, it's clear that manufacturers are sensitive about costs, especially smaller OEMs like Mazda and Subaru. With the economy in a slow recovery, automakers want to make sure that their product portfolio is perfectly matched to buyer's needs.


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