North American Int’l Auto ShowDETROIT – Subaru of America Inc. is forecasting another year of record sales in 2006.

The importer hit a new high in 2005, delivering 196,002 vehicles, up 4.6% from 2004.

This year, Executive Vice President Fred Adcock says, sales will reach 211,000, including about 34,000 to 35,000 of its B9 Tribeca cross/utility vehicle, which will see its first full year of sales. In 2005, Subaru sold 14,797 B9 Tribecas.

B5-TPH advanced hybrid

Two Subaru concepts, previously shown in Japan, made their North America debuts at the North American International Auto Show here: the B5-TPH hybrid-electric vehicle and the pure electric R1e.

The B5 concept features a parallel hybrid system that includes a turbocharged Miller-cycle 4-cyl. engine mated to an electric motor powered by a manganese lithium-ion battery said to have a 10- to 15-year life.

The powertrain’s gasoline engine generates 256 hp and 252 lb.-ft. (342 Nm) of torque, while the electric motor adds 13 hp and 110 lb.-ft. (149 Nm) of torque.

Parent Fuji Heavy Industries Ltd. will launch the hybrid powertrain in Japan in 2007, and Adcock says it will come to the U.S. sometime after that.

He says the parallel hybrid system is designed to work with any of Subaru’s boxer engines, so it could be used in existing models, if Fuji chooses.

Adcock would not comment on the impact of Toyota Motor Corp.’s plans to build vehicles at Subaru Indiana Automotive Inc. Toyota acquired a stake in Fuji from General Motors Corp. late last year. (See related story: Subaru Indiana Plant to Build Toyotas )

“Discussions are taking place, but there’s been no release of specifics,” Adcock says.

Last year, SIA built 110,810 vehicles through November, including 4,035 Baja pickups. The Baja will be discontinued after this year.

Adcock also says joint steering committees have formed to examine synergies between Toyota and Fuji in areas of research and development and products.

dzoia@primediabusiness.com