What was the dilemma facing Subaru in 1968?

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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There might be a couple of different "dilemmas" facing Subaru in 1968.  The one that immediately jumps out at me would be the decision to mass produce the Subaru 360 by Malcolm Bricklin in 1968.  The dilemma was whether or not mass producing a Japanese car that was designed to be a version of the Volkswagon Beetle would work in America.  Bricklin felt that the "small car" buzz of consumers would be worth the risk and mass produced for American consumers.  About 10,000 were produced and shipped to America.  Bricklin oversaw this and in a desire to cash in on the "people's car" moniker.  Certainly, the dilemma at this point was whether or not to pursue with such a commitment.  More research was needed and the design of the car could have withstood more scrutiny.  When Consumer Reportspublished its study that argued the Subaru 360 was deemed "Not Acceptable" because of safety and fuel concerns, it became evident that Bricklin and Subaru in 1968 chose the wrong path.  The dilemma was one in which the mass production of the car without data driven policy and without extensive testing resulted in costing Bricklin and Subaru quite a bit in terms of prestige amongst consumers and consumer confidence in the product.

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