News from Subaru that popped into place over the past week covered items of interest on both the domestic and international scenes. Let’s deal with what’s happening here first, because it’s the more immediate story. Subaru has increased its U.S.-market lineup of Outback wagons by one with the announcement of the forthcoming Outback Wilderness, which it bills as the most boonie-friendly Outback yet. The biggest news with the Wilderness is its standard power, which extends the 2.4-liter turbocharged flat-four normally restricted to the Legacy into the Outback line. The engine is rated at 260 horsepower and is mated to the Lineartronic CVT with an eight-speed manual mode, plus a Wilderness-revised X-MODE drive that shifts automatically from crawler mode and a revised rear 4.41:1 final-drive ratio. Pricing and availability for this 2022 model will be announced later.
We’ve also learned this, and it’s worthy of your attention: Subaru announced that operations at its Yajima assembly plant, in the Gunma Prefecture of Japan, will come to a halt at the end of this week through at least May 10, due to an ongoing global crunch in semiconductor supplies. General Motors announced last month that semiconductor shortages would force production slowdowns at several production facilities across North America. Motor vehicles, as we know, have been about a lot more than bolts and stampings for a long time now, and here’s your proof. The semiconductor shortage is a consequence of the global tech boom that was driven by long isolations during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Biden administration issued an order for producers to boost semiconductor output, but supply has yet to catch up with overheated demand.